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Crown Svo. gilt edges, p'ice 6s. each. 

THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK. With 138 Illustrations. 
THE RED FAIRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. 
THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK. W T ith 99 Illustrations. 
THE GREY FAIRY BOOK. With 65 Illustrations. 

THE YELLOW FAIRY BOOK. With 104 Illustra- 
THE PINK FAIRY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations. 

Plates ami 54 other Illustrations. 

Plates and 43 other Illustrations 

Plates and 42 other Illustrations. 

THE OLIVE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 
and 43 other Illustrations. 

Plates and 50 other Illustrations. 

THE BLUE POETRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. 

THE TRUE STORY BOOK. With 66 Illustrations. 


THE ANIMAL STORY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations. 

65 Illustrations. 


With 66 Illustrations. 

THE BOOK OF ROMANCE. With 8 Coloured Plates 
and 44 other Illustrations. 

THE RED ROMANCE BOOK. With 8 Coloured 

Plates and 44 other Illustrations. 

LONGMANS, GREEK, & CO. 39 Paternoster How, London; 
New York, Bombay, and Calcutta. 

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&<*£ • ^ PROPERTY OF THE r z. xo S*23 



Many years ago my friend and publisher, Mr. Charles 
Longman, presented me with Le Cabinet des Fees (' The 
Fairy Cabinet '). This work almost requires a swinging 
bookcase for its accommodation, like the Encyclopedia 
Britannica, and in a revolving bookcase I bestowed the 
volumes. Circumstances of an intimately domestic 
character, 'not wholly unconnected,' as Mr. Micawber 
might have said, with the narrowness of my study (in 
which it is impossible to ' swing a cat '), prevent the 
revolving bookcase from revolving at this moment. I 
can see, however, that the Fairy Cabinet contains at 
least forty volumes, and I think there are about sixty 
in all. This great plenitude of fairy tales from all 
quarters presents legends of fairies, witches, geni or 
Djinn, monsters, dragons, wicked stepmothers, prin- 
cesses pretty or plain, princes lucky or unlucky, giants, 
dwarfs, and enchantments. The stories begin with 
those which children like best — the old Blue Beard, 
Puss in Boots, Hop o' my Thumb, Little Bed Biding 
Hood, The Sleeping Beauty, and Toads and Pearls. 
These were first collected, written, and printed at Paris 
in 1697. The author was Monsieur Charles Perrault, 
a famous personage in a great pemtque, who in his day 
wrote large volumes now unread. He never dreamed 
that he was to be remembered mainly by the shabby 


little volume with the tiny headpiece pictures — how 
unlike the fairy way of drawing by Mr. Ford, said to be 
known as ' Over-the-wall Ford ' among authors who play 
cricket, because of the force with which he swipes ! 
Perrault picked up the rustic tales which the nurse of 
his little boy used to tell, and he told them again in his 
own courtly, witty way. They do not seem to have 
been translated into English till nearly thirty years later, 
when they were published in English, with the French 
on the opposite page, by a Mr. Pote, a bookseller at 
Eton. Probably the younger Eton boys learned as 
much French as they condescended to acquire from 
these fairy tales, which are certainly more amusing than 
the Telemaque of Messire Francois de Salignac de la 
Motte-Fenelon, tutor of the children of France, Arch- 
bishop Duke of Cambrai, and Prince of the Holy Roman 

The success of Perrault was based on the pleasure 
which the Court of Louis XIY. took in fairy tales ; we 
know that they were told among Court ladies, from a 
letter of Madame de Sevigne. Naturally Perrault had 
imitators, such as Madame d'Aulnoy, a wandering lady 
of more wit than reputation. To her we owe Beauty 
and the Beast and The Yelloio Divarf. Antony Hamilton 
tried his hand with The Bam, a story too prolix and 
confused, best remembered for the remark, 'Ram, my 
friend, begin at the beginning ! ' Indeed, the narrative 
style of the Ram is lacking in lucidity! Then came 
The Arabian Nights, translated by Monsieur Galland. 
Nobody has translated The Arabian Nights so well as 
Galland. His is the reverse of a scientific rendering, 
but it is as pleasantly readable as the Iliad and Odyssey 
would be if Alexandre Dumas had kept his promise to 
translate Homer. Galland omitted the verses and a 

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great number of passages which nobody would miss, 
though the anthropologist is supposed to find them 
valuable and instructive in late scientific translations 
which do not amuse. Later, Persian Tales, Tales of the 
Sea, and original inventions, more or less on the fairy 
model, were composed by industrious men and women. 
They are far too long — are novels, indeed, and would 
please no child or mature person of taste. All these 
were collected in the vast Fairy Cabinet, published in 
1786, just before the Eevolution. Probably their attempt 
to be simple charmed a society which was extremely 
artificial, talked about ' the simple life ' and the ' state 
of nature,' and was on the eve of a revolution in which 
human nature revealed her most primitive traits in orgies 
of blood. 

That was the end of the Court and of the Court Fairy 
Tales, and just w T hen they were demolished, learned 
men like the Grimms and Sir Walter Scott began to 
take an interest in the popular tales of peasants and 
savages all the world over. All the world over the tales 
were found to be essentially the same things. Cinderella 
is everywhere; a whole book has been written on 
Cinderella by Miss Cox, and a very good book it is, but 
not interesting to children. For them the best of the 
collections of foreign fairy tales are the German stories 
by the Grimms, the Tales from the Norse, by Sir G. W. 
Dasent, (which some foolish ' grown-ups ' denounced 
as 'improper'), and Miss Frere's Indian stories. There 
are hundreds of collections of savage and peasant fairy 
tales, but, though many of these are most interesting, 
especially Bishop Callaway's Zulu stories (with the 
Zulu versions), these do not come in the way of 
parents and uncles, and therefore do not come in the 
way of children. It is my wish that children should be 

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allowed to choose their own books. Let their friends 
give them the money and turn them loose in the book 
shops ! They know their own tastes, and if the children 
are born bookish, while their dear parents are the reverse, 
(and this does occur !), then the children make the better 
choice. They are unaffected in their selections ; some 
want Shakespeares of their own, and some prefer a 
volume entitled Buster Brown. A few — alas, how few ! — 
are fond of poetry; a still smaller number are fond of 
history. ' We know that there are no fairies, but history 
stories are true ! ' say these little innocents. I am not 
so sure that there are no fairies, and I am only too well 
aware that the best ' history stories ' are not true. 

What children do love is ghost stories. 'Tell us 
a ghost story ! ' they cry, and I am able to meet the 
demand, with which I am in sincere sympathy. Only 
strong control prevents me from telling the last true 
ghost story which I heard yesterday. It would suit 
children excellently well. ' The Grey Ghost Story Book ' 
would be a favourite. At a very early age I read a number 
of advertisements of books, and wept because I could not 
buy dozens of them, and somebody gave me a book on 
Botany 1 It looked all right, nicely bound in green cloth, 
but within it was full of all manner of tediousness. 

In our Fairy Cabinet, which cannot extend to sixty 
volumes, we have aimed at pleasing children, not ' grown- 
ups/ at whom the old French writers directed their 
romances, but have hunted for fairy tales in all quarters, 
not in Europe alone. In this volume we open, thanks to 
Dr. Ignaz Kudos, with a story from the Turks. ' Little 
King Loc ' is an original invention by M. Anatole France, 
which he very kindly permitted Mrs. Lang to adapt from 

Major Campbell, as previously, tells tales which he 

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collected among the natives of India. But the sources 
are usually named at the end of each story, and when 
they are not named children will not miss them. Mrs. 
Lang, except in cases mentioned, has translated and 
adapted to the conditions of young readers the bulk of 
the collection, and Mrs. Skovgaard-Pedersen has done 
' The Green Knight' from the Danish. I must especially 
thank Monsieur Macler for permitting us to use some 
of his Contes Armenians} 

1 Paris : Ernest Leroux, Editeur. 

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Madschun 1 

The Blue Parrot 9 

Geirlaug the King's Daughter 27 

The Story of Little King Loc . . . . . . 43 

' A Long -boiv Story' G4 

Jackal or Tiger ? 71 

The Comb and the Collar 87 

The Thanksgiving of the Wazir . . . . . . 103 

Samba the Coivard 108 

Kupti and Imani 119 

The Strange Adventures of Little Maia .... 131 

Diamond cut Diamond 144 

The Green Knight . . . . . . . .152 

The Five Wise Words of the Guru . ... 167 

The Golden-headed Fish ....... 178 

Dorani 188 

The Satin Surgeon 198 

The , Billy Goat and the King 211 

The Story of Zoulvisia . 216 

Gras v allLoseal bignized by Microsoft®- 234 



The Fate of the Turtle ....... 242 

The Snake Prince 247 

The Prince and Princess in the Forest .... 25G 

The Clever Weaver 276 

The Boy who found Fear at last . 279 

He Wins who Waits 289 

The Steel Cane 301 

The Punishment of the Fairy Gangana . . . . 305 

The Silent Princess 318 

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(Engraved and printed by Messrs, Andrt & Sleigh, Ltd., Baslicy) 

The Blue Parrot (p. 9) 

* Stay here, and you shall be king ' . 

The Princess and the Wolves in the Forest 

The Boy in the Valley 

The Ascent of the Crystal Toiver . . . 
' Queen of Snakes, give me bach my husband I ' 
The Sea-maiden luith a ivicked Face 
The Princess chooses 



;o face p. 














Ismenor brings Lino to Pianette . . . to face p, 12 

The Magician's Wife ichistles to the Parrot . „ 22 

The Dragon Discomfited ,,28 

* Will you lend me your ox, fair maiden 1 ' ., 38 

Abeille finds herself among the Little Men . ,, 46 
King Loc carries Abeille aivay from her 

Mother „ 56 

The Bunniah's Story „ 66 

' Quick ! prince ! quick ! the time is flying, 

comb me at once ' . . . . . . „ 94 

Samba found skulking by his Wife llCTOSO » HO 



The Princess changes clothes with the Goose- 

' What think you, mortal, of my fair anil 
lovely ivife ? ' 

The Prince has pity on the Gold-headed Fish 

1 He never could persuade her to say a single 
word * 

The Princess gets her Letter . 

' I accept your challenge. Mount, and follow 
me. I am Zoulvisia" .... 

The Witch and her Snakes 

The Princess of Arabia released from the Iron 
Pillar ....... 

The Boy secures the Bracelet . 

Blind rage filled the heart of the watcher . 

' The seven veils fell from her ' 

to face 

p. 162 






















Love at first sight 

Hoiv the Birds ivere brought to the Sultan 

The Swalloio brings the Note to Lino .... 

Pull as he might, he could not get free 

* Is this the man that you ivish to marry P . 

The Farmer finds the Queen weeping by the Palanquin 

The Unlucky Shot . 

Ameer Ali wins the Anklet 

The Princess saves the White Fox 

Imani attends to the Crippled Fakir . 

Imani listens to what the Monkeys say 

Maia carried off by the Cockchafer 

Maia and the Spiders in the Evening 

He helped her to jump from the Swallow's back . 

The Poisoned Nail 

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The Invisible Prince goes with the Ladies . . . 194 

The King laughs at the Billy Goat 213 

Suddenly the Tree rose up again and flew away . . 240 

The Snake Prince visits his Wife 251 

The Bobber-chief catches the Queen .... 250 

The Hawk flies away with the Lamp 271 

The Silent Princess speaks at last 327 

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Once upon a time there lived, in a small cottage among 
some hills, a woman with her son, and, to her great grief, 
the young man, though hardly more than twenty years of 
age, had not as much hair on his head as a baby. But, 
old as he looked, the youth was very idle, and whatever 
trade his mother put him to he refused to work, and in 
a few days always came home again. 

On a fine summer morning he was lying as usual 
half asleep in the little garden in front of the cottage 
when the sultan's daughter came riding by, followed by 
a number of gaily dressed ladies. The youth lazily 
raised himself on his elbow to look at her, and that one 
glance changed his whole nature. 

1 1 will marry her and nobody else,' he thought. And 
jumping up, he went to find his mother. 

1 You must go at once to the sultan, and tell him that 
I want his daughter for my wife,' he said. 

' What ? ' shouted the old woman, shrinking back 
into a corner, for nothing but sudden madness could 
explain such an amazing errand. 

1 Don't you understand ? You must go at once to the 
sultan and tell him that I want his daughter for my 
wife,' repeated the youth impatiently. 

' But — but, do you know what you are saying ? ' 
stammered the mother. ' You will learn no trade, and 
have only the five gold pieces left you by your father, 
and can you really expect that the sultan would give his 
daughter to a penniless bald-pate like you? ' 

OL. b 


1 That is my affair ; do as I bid you.' And neither day 
nor night did her son cease tormenting her, till, in 
despair, she put on her best clothes, and wrapped her 
veil about her, and went over the hill to the palace. 

It was the day that the sultan set apart for hearing 
the complaints and petitions of his people, so the 
woman found no difficulty in gaining admission to his 

^oPfc.-a A^fiy-sfc J^^frfcr^ 

'Do not think me mad, O Excellency,' she began, 
1 though I know I must seem like it. But I have a 
son who, since his eyes have rested on the veiled face 
of the princess, has not left me in peace day or night 
till I consented to come to the palace, and to ask your 
Excellency for your daughter's hand. It was in vain 
I answered that my head might pay the forfeit of my 

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boldness, lie would listen to nothing. Therefore am I 
here ; do with me even as you will ! ' 

Now the sultan always loved anything out of the 
common, and this situation was new indeed. So, instead 
of ordering the trembling creature to be flogged or cast 
into prison, as some other sovereigns might have done, 
he merely said : ' Bid your son come hither.' 

The old woman stared in astonishment at such a reply. 
But when the sultan repeated his words even more gently 
than before, and did not look in anywise angered, she 
took courage, and bowing again she hastened homeward. 

* Well, how have you sped ? ' asked her son eagerly 
as she crossed the threshold. 

' You are to go up to the palace without delay, and 
speak to the sultan himself/ replied the mother. And 
when he heard the good news, his face lightened up 
so wonderfully that his mother thought what a pity it 
was that he had no hair, as then he would be quite 

' Ah, the lightning will not fly more swiftly,' cried he. 
And in another instant he was out of her sight. 

When the sultan beheld the bald head of his 
daughters wooer, he no longer felt in the mood for 
joking, and resolved that he must somehow or other 
shake himself free of such an unwelcome lover. But as 
he had summoned the young man to the palace, he could 
hardly dismiss him without a reason, so he hastily said : 

' I hear you wish to marry my daughter ? Well and 
good. But the man who is to be her husband must 
first collect all the birds in the world, and bring them 
into the gardens of the palace ; for hitherto no birds 
have made their homes in the trees.' 

The young man was filled with despair at the sultan's 
words. How was he to snare all these birds ? and even 
if he did succeed in catching them it would take years 
to carry them to the palace ! Still, he was too proud to 
let the sultan think that he had given up the princess 


without a struggle, so he took a road that led past the 
palace and walked on, not noticing whither he went. 

In this manner a week slipped by, and at length he 
found himself crossing a desert with great rocks scattered 
here and there. In the shadow cast by one of these was 
seated a holy man or dervish, as he was called, who 
motioned to the youth to sit beside him. 

' Something is troubling you, my son/ said the holy 
man ; ' tell me what it is, as I may be able to help you.' 

' O, my father,' answered the youth, ' I wish to marry 
the princess of my country ; but the sultan refuses to 
give her to me unless I can collect all the birds in the 
world and bring them into his garden. And how can I, 
or any other man, do that ? ' 

' Do not despair,' replied the dervish, ' it is not so 
difficult as it sounds. Two days' journey from here, in 
the path of the setting sun, there stands a cypress tree, 
larger than any other cypress that grows upon the earth. 
Sit down where the shadow is darkest, close to the trunk, 
and keep very still. By-and-by you will hear a mighty 
rushing of wings, and all the birds in the world will come 
and nestle in the branches. Be careful not to make 
a sound till everything is quiet again, and then say 
" Madschun ! " At that the birds will be forced to remain 
where they are — not one can move from its perch ; and 
you will be able to place them all over your head and 
arms and body, and in this way you must carry them to 
the sultan.' 

With a glad heart the young man thanked the dervish, 
and paid such close heed to his directions that, a few 
days later, a strange figure covered with soft feathers 
walked into the presence of the sultan. The princess's 
father was filled with surprise, for never had he seen 
such a sight before. Oh ! how lovely were those little 
bodies, and bright frightened eyes ! Soon a gentle 
stirring was heard, and what a multitude of wings- 
unfolded themselves : blue wings, yellow wings, red 

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wings, green wings. And when the young man 
whispered ' Go/ they first flew in circles round the 
sultan's head, and then disappeared through the open 
window, to choose homes in the garden. 

' I have done your bidding, Sultan, and now give 

O^ tWBW>s isetfe^Tnfrcg^ ts thfe. &mrw 

me the princess,' said the youth. And the sultan answered 
hurriedly : 

1 Yes ! oh, yes ! you have pleased me well ! Only one 
thing remains to turn you into a husband that any girl 
might desire. That head of yours, you know — it is so 


very bald ! Get it covered with nice thick curly hair, 
and then I will give you my daughter. You are so clever 
that I am sure this will give you no trouble at all/ 

Silently the young man listened to the sultan's words, 
and silently he sat in his mother's kitchen for many days 
to come, till, one morning, the news reached him that the 
sultan had betrothed his daughter to the son of the wizir, 
and that the wedding was to be celebrated without delay 
in the palace. With that he arose in wrath, and made 
his way quickly and secretly to a side door, used only by 
the workmen who kept the building in repair, and, unseen 
by anyone, he made his way into the mosque, and then 
entered the palace by a gallery which opened straight 
into the great hall. Here the bride and bridegroom and 
two or three friends were assembled, waiting for the 
appearance of the sultan for the contract to be signed. 

' Madschun ! ' whispered the youth from above. And 
instantly everyone remained rooted to the ground ; and 
some messengers whom the sultan had sent to see that 
all was ready shared the same fate. 

At length, angry and impatient, the sultan went down 
to behold with his own eyes what had happened, but as 
nobody could give him any explanation, he bade one of his 
attendants to fetch a magician, who dwelt near one of the 
city gates, to remove the spell which had been cast by 
some evil genius. 

1 It is your own fault/ said the magician, when he had 
heard the sultan's story. ' If you had not broken your 
promise to the young man, your daughter would not have 
had this ill befall her. Now there is only one remedy, 
and the bridegroom you have chosen must yield his place 
to the bald-headed youth.' 

Sore though he was in his heart, the sultan knew that 
the magician was wiser than he, and despatched his most 
trusted servants to seek out the young man without a 
moment's delay and bring him to the palace. The youth, 
who all this time had been hiding behind a pillar, smiled 


to himself when he heard these words, and, hastening 
home, he said to his mother : ' If messengers from the 
sultan should come here and ask for me, be sure you 
answer that it is a long while since I went away, and that 
you cannot tell where I may be, but that if they will give 
you money enough for your journey, as you are very poor, 
you will do your best to find me.' Then he hid himself 
in the loft above, so that he could listen to all that passed. 

The next minute someone knocked loudly at the door, 
and the old woman jumped up and opened it. 

1 Is your bald-headed son here ? ' asked the man 
outside. ' If so, let him come with me, as the sultan 
wishes to speak with him directly.' 

1 Alas ! sir,' replied the woman, putting a corner of 
her veil to her eyes, 'he left me long since, and since 
that day no news of him has reached me.' 

' Oh ! good lady, can you not guess where he may be? 
The sultan intends to bestow on him the hand of his 
daughter, and he is certain to give a large reward to the 
man who brings him back.' 

' He never told me whither he was going,' answered 
the crone, shaking her head. ' But it is a great honour 
that the sultan does him, and well worth some trouble. 
There are places where, perhaps, he may be found, but 
they are known to me only, and I am a poor woman and 
have no money for the journey.' 

' Oh ! that will not stand in the way,' cried the man. 
' In this purse are a thousand gold pieces ; spend them 
freely. Tell me where I can find him and you shall have 
as many more.' 

' Very well,' said she, ' it is a bargain ; and now fare- 
well, for I must make some preparations ; but in a few 
days at furthest you shall hear from me.' 

For nearly a week both the old woman and her son 
were careful not to leave the house till it was dark, lest 
they should be seen by any of the neighbours, and as 
they did not even kindle a fire or light a lantern, every- 


one supposed that the cottage was deserted. At length, 
one fine morning, the young man got up early and dressed 
himself, and put on his best turban, and after a hasty 
breakfast took the road to the palace. 

The huge negro before the door evidently expected 
him, for without a word he let him pass, and another 
attendant who was waiting inside conducted him straight 
into the presence of the sultan, who welcomed him gladly. 

1 Ah, my son ! where have you hidden yourself all this 
time ? ' said he. And the bald-headed man answered : 

' Oh, Sultan ! Fairly I won your daughter, but you 
broke your word, and would not give her to me. Then 
my home grew hateful to me, and I set out to wander 
through the world ! But now that you have repented 
of your ill-faith, I have come to claim the wife who is 
mine of right. Therefore bid your wizir prepare the 

So a fresh contract was prepared, and at the wish of 
the new bridegroom was signed by the sultan and the 
wizir in the chamber where they met. After this was 
done, the youth begged the sultan to lead him to the 
princess, and together they entered the big hall, where 
everyone was standing exactly as they were when the 
young man had uttered the fatal word. 

' Can you remove the spell ? ' asked the sultan 

' I think so/ replied the young man (who, to say the 
truth, was a little anxious himself), and stepping forward, 
he cried : 

1 Let the victims of Madschun be free I ' 

No sooner were the words uttered than the statues 
-returned to life, and the bride placed her hand joyfully 
in that of her new bridegroom. As for the old one, he 
vanished completely, and no one ever knew what became 
vof him. 

^Adapted from TUrfcische Volksmiirchen aus Stambul. Dr. Ignaz Ktinos. 
E.J, Brill, Leiden.] 

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In a part of Arabia where groves of palms and sweet- 
scented flowers give the traveller rest after toilsome 
journeys under burning skies, there reigned a young king 
whose name was Lino. He had grown up under the 
wise rule of his father, who had lately died, and though 
he was only nineteen, he did not believe, like many young 
men, that he must change all the laws in order to show 
how clever he was, but was content with the old ones 
which had made the people happy and the country 
prosperous. There was only one fault that his subjects 
had to find with him, and that was that he did not seem 
in any hurry to be married, in spite of the prayers that 
iihey frequently offered him. 

The neighbouring kingdom was governed by the Swan 
iairy, who had an only daughter, the Princess Hermosa, 
who was as charming in her way as Lino in his. The 
Swan fairy always had an ambassador at the young 
king's court, and on hearing the grumbles of the citizens 
that Lino showed no signs of taking a wife, the good 
man resolved that he would try his hand at match- 
making. 'For,' he said, 'if there is anyone living 
who is worthy of the Princess Hermosa he is to be 
found here. At any rate, I can but try and bring them 

Now, of course, it was not proper to offer the princess 
in marriage, and the difficulty was to work upon the 
unconscious king so as to get the proposal to come from 
him. But the ambassador was well used to the ways of 


courts, and after several conversations on the art of 
painting, which Lino loved, he led the talk to portraits, 
and mentioned carelessly that a particularly fine picture 
had lately been made of his own princess. ' Though, as 
for a likeness,' he concluded, ' perhaps it is hardly as 
good as this small miniature, which was painted a year 

The king took it, and looked at it closely. 

' Ah ! ' he sighed, ' that must be flattered ! It 
cannot be possible that any woman should be such a 
miracle of beauty.' 

* If you could only see her,' answered the ambas- 

The king did not reply, but the ambassador was not 
at all surprised when, the following morning, he was sent 
for into the royal presence. 

' Since you showed me that picture,' began Lino, 
almost before the door was shut, * I have not been able 
to banish the face of the princess from my thoughts. I 
have summoned you here to inform you that I am about 
to send special envoys to the court of the Swan fairy, 
asking her daughter in marriage.' 

'I cannot, as you will understand, speak for my 
mistress in so important a matter,' replied the ambassador, 
stroking his beard in order to conceal the satisfaction he 
felt. ' But I know that she will certainly be highly 
gratified at your proposal.' 

' If that is so,' cried the king, his whole face beaming 
with joy, ' then, instead of sending envoys, I will go 
myself, and take you with me. In three days my 
preparations will be made, and we will set out.' 

Unluckily for Lino, he had for his neighbour on the 
other side a powerful magician named Ismenor, who was 
king of the Isle of Lions, and the father of a hideous 
daughter, whom he thought the most beautiful creature 
that ever existed. Eiquette, for such was her name, had 

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also fallen in love with a portrait, but it was of King 
Lino, and she implored her father to give him to her for 
a husband. Ismenor, who considered that no man lived 
who was worthy of his treasure, was about to send his 
chief minister to King Lino on this mission, when the 
news reached him that the king had already started for 
the court of the Swan fairy. Eiquette was thrown into 
transports of grief, and implored her father to prevent 
the marriage, which Ismenor promised to do ; and calling 
for an ugly and humpbacked little dwarf named Eabot, 
he performed some spells which transported them quickly 
to a rocky valley through which the king and his escort 
were bound to pass. When the tramp of horses was 
heard, the magician took out an enchanted handkerchief, 
which rendered invisible anyone who touched it. Giving 
one end to Eabot, and holding the other himself, they 
walked unseen amongst the horsemen, but not a trace of 
Lino was to be found. And this was natural enough, 
because the king, tired out with the excitement and 
fatigue of the last few days, had bidden the heavy 
coaches, laden with presents for the princess, to go 
forwards, while he rested under the palms with a few of 
his friends. Here Ismenor beheld them, all sound asleep ; 
and casting a spell which prevented their waking till he 
wished them to do so, he stripped the king of all his 
clothes and dressed him in those of Eabot, whom he 
touched with his ring, saying : 

* Take the shape of Lino until you have wedded the 
daughter of the Swan fairy.' 

And so great was the magician's power that Eabot 
positively believed himself to be really the king ! 

When the groom had mounted Lino's horse, and had 
ridden out of sight, Ismenor aroused the king, who stared 
with astonishment at the dirty garments in which he 
was dressed ; but before he had time to look about him, 
the magician caught him up in a cloud, and carried him 
off to his daughter^/f/ze 


Meantime Rabot had come up with the others, who 
never guessed for a moment that he was not their own 

' I am hungry,' said he, ' give me something to eat at 

' May it please your majesty,' answered the steward, 
' the tents are not even set up, and it will be at least an 
hour before your supper is served ! We thought ' 

' Who taught you to think ? ' interrupted the false 
king rudely. ' You are nothing but a fool! Get me some 
horse's flesh directly — it is the best meat in the world I ' 

The steward could hardly believe his ears. King 
Lino, the most polite man under the sun, to speak to his 
faithful servant in such a manner ! And to want horse's 
flesh too ! Why, he was so delicate in his appetite that 
he lived mostly on fruit and cakes. Well, well, there 
was no knowing what people would come to ; and, any- 
how, he must obey at once, if he wished to keep his head 
on his shoulders. Perhaps, after all, it was love which 
had driven him mad, and, if so, by-and-by he might 
come right again. 

Whatever excuses his old servants might invent for 
their master, by the time the procession reached the 
Swan fairy's capital there were no more horses left, and 
they were forced to walk up to the palace on foot. 
Hiding their surprise as best they could, they begged the 
king to follow them, dismounting from their own horses, 
as he, they supposed, preferred to walk. They soon 
perceived the Swan fairy and her daughter awaiting them 
on a low balcony, under which the king stopped. 

' Madam,' he said, ' you may be surprised that I 
have come to ask your daughter's hand in so uncere- 
monious a fashion; but the journey is long, and I was 
hungry and ate my horse, which is the best meat in the 
world; and I forced my courtiers to eat theirs also. But 
for all that I am a great king, and wish to be your son- 
in-law. And now that is settled, where is Hermosa? * 

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' Sire,' answered the queen, not a little displeased as 
well as amazed at the king's manner, which was so 
different from anything she had been led to expect. 
' You possess my daughter's portrait, and it can have 
made but little impression on you if you don't recognise 
her at once.' 

' I don't remember any portrait,' replied Eabot ; ' but 
perhaps it may be in my pocket after all.' And he 
searched everywhere, while the ladies-in-waiting looked 
on with astonishment, but of course found nothing. 
When he had finished he turned to the princess, who 
stood there blushing and angry, and said : 

' If it is you whom I have come to marry, I think 
you are very beautiful, and I am sure if I had even seen 
your portrait I should have remembered it. Let us have 
the wedding as soon as possible ; and, meantime, I should 
like to go to sleep, for your country is very different 
from mine, and I can assure you that after walking over 
stones and sand for days and days one needs a little rest.' 

And without waiting for a reply he bade one of the 
pages conduct him to his room, where he was soon 
snoring so loud that he could be heard at the other end 
of the town. 

As soon as he was out of their sight the poor 
princess flung herself into her mother's arms, and burst 
into tears. For fifteen days she had had King Lino's 
portrait constantly before her, while the letter from their 
own ambassador speaking of the young man's grace and 
charm had never left her pocket. True, the portrait 
was faithful enough, but how could that fair outside 
contain so rough and rude a soul ? Yet this even she 
might have forgiven had the king shown any of the 
signs of love and admiration to which she had been so 
long accustomed. As for her mother, the poor Swan 
fairy was so bewildered at the extraordinary manners of 
her new son-in-law, that she was almost speechless. 

Matters were in this state when King Lino's 


chamberlain begged for a private audience of her majesty, 
and no sooner were they alone than he told her that he 
feared that his master had suddenly gone mad, or had 
fallen under the spell of some magician. 

* I had been lost in astonishment before/ said he, ' but 
now that he has failed to recognise the princess, and no 
longer possesses her portrait, which he never would part 
from for a single instant, my amazement knows no 
bounds. Perhaps, madam, your fairy gifts may be able 
to discover the reason of this change in one whose 
courtesy was the talk of the kingdom.' And with a low 
bow he took his departure. 

The queen stood where the chamberlain left her, 
thinking deeply. Suddenly her face cleared, and going 
to an old chest which she kept in a secret room, she 
drew from it a small mirror. In this mirror she could 
see faithfully reflected whatever she wished, and at 
this moment she desired above all things to behold King 
Lino as he really ivas. 

Ah ! the chamberlain was right ! It was not he 
who was lying on his bed snoring till the whole palace 
shook beneath him. No, this was her real son-in-law — 
the man dressed in dirty clothes, and imprisoned in one 
of Ismenor's strongest towers, and kissing the portrait of 
Hermosa, which had escaped the wizard's notice, owing 
to the young king having worn it, for better concealment, 
tied amongst his hair. Calling hastily to her daughter, 
she bade her also look, and Hermosa had the pleasure of 
gazing on Lino, who was behaving exactly as she could 
have wished. The mirror was still in her hand when 
the door of the prison opened, and there entered the 
hideous Eiquette, who, from her upraised eyes, seemed to 
be begging from Lino some favour which he refused to 
grant. Of course Hermosa and her mother could not 
hear their words, but from Eiquette's angry face as she 
left the room, it was not difficult to guess what had 

h ^ ened vigftiz%it wmMsd?m io teI1> for [t 


appeared that in fury at her rejection by the king, 
Biquette had ordered four strong men to scourge him 
till he fainted, which was done in the sight of Hermosa, 
who in horror dropped the mirror, and would have fallen, 
had she not been caught by her mother. 

* Control yourself, my child/ said the fairy. ' We 
have need of all our wits if we are to rescue the king 
from the power of those wicked people. And first it is 
necessary to know who the man that has taken his name 
and his face really is.' 

Then, picking up the mirror, she wished that she 
might behold the false lover ; and the glass gave back a 
vision of a dirty, greasy groom, lying, dressed as he was, 
on her bed of state. 

' So this is the trick Ismenor hoped to play us ! 
Well, we will have our revenge, whatever it costs us to 
get it. Only we must be very careful not to let him 
guess that he has not deceived us, for his skill in magic 
is greater than mine, and I shall have to be very prudent. 
To begin with, I must leave you, and if the false king 
asks why, then answer that I have to settle some affairs 
on the borders of my kingdom. Meanwhile, be sure you 
treat him most politely, and arrange f6tes to amuse him. 
If he shows any sign of being suspicious, you can even 
give him to understand that, on your marriage, I intend 
to give up the crown to your husband. And now fare- 
well ! ' So saying, the Swan fairy waved her hand, and a 
cloud came down and concealed her, and nobody imagined 
that the beautiful white cloud that was blown so rapidly 
across the sky was the chariot that was carrying the 
Swan fairy to the tower of Ismenor. 

Now the tower was situated in the midst of a forest, 
so the queen thought that, under cover of the dark trees, 
it would be quite easy for her to drop to earth unseen. 
But the tower was so thoroughly enchanted that the 
more she tried to reach the ground the tighter something 
ol. c 



tried to hold her back. At length, by putting forth all 
the power she possessed, she managed to descend to the 
foot of the tower, and there, weak and faint as she was 
with her exertions, she lost no time in working her 
spells, and found that she could only overcome Ismenor 
by means of a stone from the ring of Gyges. But how 
was she to get this ring? for the magic book told her 
that Ismenor guarded it night and day among his most 
precious treasures. However, get it she must, and in 



the meantime the first step was to see the royal prisoner 
himself. So, drawing out her tablets, she wrote as 
follows : 

1 The bird which brings you this letter is the Swan fairy, 
mother of Hermosa, who loves you as much as you love 
her ! ' And after this assurance, she related the wicked 
plot of which he had been the victim. Then, quickly 
changing herself into a swallow, she began to fly round 


the tower, till she discovered the window of Lino's 
prison. It was so high up that bars seemed needless, 
especially as four soldiers were stationed in the passage 
outside, therefore the fairy was able to enter, and even 
to hop on his shoulder, but he was so much occupied 
with gazing at the princess's portrait that it was some 
time before she could attract his attention. At last she 
gently scratched his cheek with the corner of the note, 
and he looked round with a start. On perceiving the 
swallow he knew at once that help had come, and 
tearing open the letter, he wept with joy on seeing the 
words it contained, and asked a thousand questions as 
to Hermosa, which the swallow was unable to answer, 
though, by repeated nods, she signed to him to read 
further. * Must I indeed pretend to wish to marry that 
horrible Eiquette ? ' he cried, when he had finished. 
' Can I obtain the stone from the magician ? ' 

Accordingly the next morning, when Eiquette paid 
him her daily visit, he received her much more graciously 
than usual. The magician's daughter could not contain 
her delight at this change, and in answer to her expres- 
sions of joy, Lino told her that he had had a dream by 
which he had learned the inconstancy of Hermosa ; also 
that a fairy had appeared and informed him that if he 
wished to break the bonds which bound him to the faith- 
less princess and transfer his affections to the daughter 
of Ismenor, he must have in his possession for a day and 
a night a stone from the ring of Gyges, now in the 
possession of the magician. This news so enchanted 
Eiquette, that she flung her arms round the king's neck 
and embraced him tenderly, greatly to his disgust, as he 
would infinitely have preferred the sticks of the soldiers. 
However, there was no help for it, and he did his best to 
seem pleased, till Eiquette relieved him by announcing 
that she must lose no time in asking her father and 
obtaining from him the precious stone. 

His daughter's request came as a great surprise to 



Ismenor, whose suspicions were instantly excited ; but, 
think as he would, he could not see any means by which 
the king, so closely guarded, might have held communi- 
cation with the Swan fairy. Still, he would do nothing 
hastily, and, hiding his dismay, he told Eiquette that his 
only wish was to make her happy, and that as she 
wished so much for the stone he would fetch it for her. 
Then he went into the closet where all his spells were 
worked, and in a short time he discovered that his enemy 
the Swan fairy was at that moment inside his palace. 

' So that is it I * he said, smiling grimly. ' Well, she 
shall have a stone by all means, but a stone that will 
turn everyone who touches it into marble/ And placing 
a small ruby in a box, he returned to his daughter. 

' Here is the talisman which will gain you the love of 
King Lino/ he said ; ' but be sure you give him the box 
unopened, or else the stone will lose all its virtue/ With 
a cry of joy Eiquette snatched the box from his hands, 
and ran off to the prison, followed by her father, who, 
holding tightly the enchanted handkerchief, was able, 
unseen, to watch the working of the spell. As he 
expected, at the foot of the tower stood the Swan fairy, 
who had had the imprudence to appear in her natural 
shape, waiting for the stone which the prince was to 
throw to her. Eagerly she caught the box as it fell from 
the prince's hands, but no sooner had her fingers touched 
the ruby, than a curious hardening came over her, her 
limbs stiffened, and her tongue could hardly utter the 
words ' We are betrayed/ 

' Yes, you are betrayed,' cried Ismenor, in a terrible 
voice ; ' and you,' he continued, dragging the king to the 
window, ' you shall turn into a parrot, and a parrot you 
will remain until you can persuade Hermosa to crush 
in your head.' 

He had hardly finished before a blue parrot flew out 
into the forest ; and the magician, mounting in his 
winged chariot, set off for the Isle of Swans, where he 


changed everybody into statues, exactly in the positions 
in which he found them, not even excepting Eabot him- 
self. Only Hermosa was spared, and her he ordered to 
get into his chariot beside him. In a few minutes he 
reached the Forest of Wonders, when the magician got 
down, and dragged the unhappy princess out after him. 

' I have changed your mother into a stone, and your 
lover into a parrot,' said he, ' and you are to become a 
tree, and a tree you will remain until you have crushed 
the head of the person you love best in the world. But 
I will leave you your mind and memory, that your 
tortures may be increased a thousand-fold.' 

Great magician as he was, Ismenor could not have 
invented a more terrible fate had he tried for a hundred 
years. The hours passed wearily by for the poor 
princess, who longed for a wood-cutter's axe to put an 
end to her misery. How were they to be delivered from 
their doom ? And even supposing that King Lino did fly 
that way, there were thousands of blue parrots in the 
forest, and how was she to know him, or he her ? As to 
her mother — ah ! that was too bad to think about ! So, 
being a woman, she kept on thinking. 

Meanwhile the blue parrot flew about the world, 
making friends wherever he went, till, one day, he entered 
the castle of an old wizard who had just married a 
beautiful young wife. Grenadine, for such was her 
name, led a very dull life, and was delighted to have 
a playfellow, so she gave him a golden cage to sleep 
in, and delicious fruits to eat. Only in one way did 
he disappoint her — he never would talk as other 
parrots did. 

'If you only knew how happy it would make me, 
I'm sure you would try,' she was fond of saying ; but 
the parrot did not seem to hear her. 

One morning, however, she left the room to gather 
some flowers, and the parrot, finding himself alone, 
hopped to the table, and, picking up a pencil, wrote 


some verses on a piece of paper. He had just finished 
when he was startled by a noise, and letting fall the 
pencil, he flew out of the window. 

Now hardly had he dropped the pencil when the 
wizard lifted a corner of the curtain which hung over 
the doorway, and advanced into the room. Seeing 
a paper on the table, he picked it up, and great was 
his surprise as he read : 

' Fair princess, to win your grace, 
I will hold discourse with you ; 
Silence, though, were more in place 
Than chatt'ring like a cockatoo.' 

' I half suspected it was enchanted/ murmured the 
wizard to himself. And he fetched his books and searched 
them, and found that instead of being a parrot, the 
bird was really a king who had fallen under the 
wrath of a magician, and that magician the man whom 
the wizard hated most in the world. Eagerly he read on, 
seeking for some means of breaking the enchantment, and 
at last, to his great joy, he discovered the remedy. Then 
he hurried to his wife, who was lying on some cushions 
under the tree on which the parrot had perched, and 
informed her that her favourite was really the king of a 
great country, and that, if she would whistle for the bird 5 
they would all go together to a certain spot in the Forest 
of Marvels, ' where I will restore him to his own shape. 
Only you must not be afraid or cry out, whatever I do,' 
added he, ' or everything will be spoilt/ The wizard's 
wife jumped up in an instant, so delighted was she, and 
began to whistle the song that the parrot loved ; but as 
he did not wish it to be known that he had been listening 
to the conversation he waited until she had turned her 
back, when he flew down from the tree and alighted on 
her shoulder. Then they got into a golden boat, which 
carried them to a clearing in the forest, where three tall 
trees stood by themselves. ... 

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' I want these trees for my magic fire,' he said to his 
wife ; ' put the parrot on that branch, he will be quite 
safe, and go yourself to a little distance. If you stay too 
near you may get your head crushed in their fall.' 

At these words the parrot suddenly remembered the 
prophecy of Ismenor, and held himself ready, his heart 
beating at the thought that in one of those trees he 
beheld Hermosa. Meanwhile the magician took a spade, 
and loosened the earth of the roots of the three trees so 
that they might all fall together. Directly the parrot 
observed them totter he spread his wings and flew right 
under the middle one, which was the most beautiful of 
the three. There was a crash, then Lino and Hermosa 
stood facing each other, clasped hand in hand. 

After the first few moments, the princess's thoughts 
turned to her mother, and falling at the feet of the magician, 
who was smiling with delight at the success of his plan, 
she implored him to help them once more, and to give the 
Swan fairy back her proper shape. 

1 That is not so easy/ said he, ' but I will try what I 
can do/ And transporting himself to his palace to obtain 
a little bottle of poisoned water, he waited till nightfall, 
and started at once for Ismenor' s tower. Of course, had 
Ismenor consulted his books he would have seen what 
his enemy was doing, he might have protected himself ; 
but he had been eating and drinking too much, and had 
gone to bed, sleeping heavily. Changing himself into a 
bat, the magician flew into the room, and hiding himself 
in the curtains, he poured all the liquid over Ismenor's 
face, so that he died without a groan. At the same 
instant the Swan fairy became a woman again, for no 
magician, however powerful, can work spells which last 
beyond his own life. 

So when the Swan fairy returned to her capital she 
found all her courtiers waiting at the gate to receive her, 
and in their midst, beaming with happiness, Hermosa and 
King Lino. Standing behind them, though a long way 


off, was Rabot ; but his dirty clothes had given place to 
clean ones, when his earnest desire was granted, and the 
princess had made him head of her stables. 

And here we must bid them all farewell, feeling sure 
they will have many years of happiness before them 
after the terrible trials through which they have passed. 

[Adapted and shortened from Le Cabinet des F£es.~i 

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One day a powerful king and his beautiful wife were 
sitting in the gardens of their capital city, talking 
earnestly about the future life of their little son, who 
was sleeping by their side in his beautiful golden cradle. 
They had been married for many years without children, 
so when this baby came they thought themselves the 
happiest couple in the whole world. He was a fine 
sturdy little boy, who loved to kick and to strike out 
with his fists ; but even if he had been weak and small 
they would still have thought him the most wonderful 
creature upon earth, and so absorbed were they in 
making plans for him, that they never noticed a huge 
dark shadow creeping up, till a horrible head with 
gleaming teeth stretched over them, and in an instant 
their beloved baby was snatched away. 

For a while the king and queen remained where they 
were, speechless with horror. Then the king rose slowly, 
and holding out his hand to his wife, led her weeping 
into the palace, and for many days their subjects saw no 
more of them. 

Meanwhile the dragon soared high into the air, 
holding the cradle between his teeth, and the baby still 
slept on. He flew so fast that he soon crossed the 
borders of another kingdom, and again he beheld the 
king and queen of the country seated in the garden with 
a little girl lying in a wonderful cradle of white satin and 
lace. Swooping down from behind as he had done before, 
he was just about to seize the cradle, when the king 


jumped up aud dealt him such a blow with his golden 
staff that the dragon not only started back, but in his 
pain let fall the boy, as he spread his wings and soared 
into the air away from all danger. 

' That was a narrow escape,' said the king, turning to 
his wife, who sat pale with fright, and clasping her baby 
tightly in her arms. ' Frightful,' murmured the queen ; 
'but look, what is that glittering object that is lying out 
there ? ' The king walked in the direction of her finger, 
and to his astonishment beheld another cradle and another 

' Ah ! the monster must have stolen this as he sought 
to steal Geirlaug,' cried he. And stooping lower, he read 
some words that were written on the fine linen that was 
wound round the boy. 'This is Grethari, son of Grethari 
the king ! ' Unfortunately it happened that the two 
neighbouring monarchs had had a serious quarrel, and 
for some years had ceased holding communication with 
each other. So, instead of sending a messenger at once 
to Grethari to tell him of the safety of his son, the king 
contented himself with adopting the baby, which was 
brought up with Geirlaug the princess. 

For a while things went well with the children, who 
were as happy as the day was long, but at last there 
came a time when the queen could no more run races or 
play at hide-and-seek with them in the garden as she was 
so fond of doing, but lay and watched them from a pile of 
soft cushions. By-and-by she gave up doing even that, 
and people in the palace spoke with low voices, and even 
Geirlaug and Grethari. trod gently and moved quietly 
when they drew near her room. At length, one morning, 
they were sent for by the king himself, who, his eyes red 
with weeping, told them that the queen was dead. 

Great was the sorrow of the two children, for they had 
loved the queen very dearly, and life seemed dull without 
her. But the lady-in-waiting who took care of them in 
the tower which had been built for them while they were 

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still babies, was kind and good, and when the king was 
busy or away in other parts of his kingdom she made 
them quite happy, and saw that they were taught every- 
thing that a prince and iDrincess ought to know. Thus two 
or three years passed, when, one day, as the children were 
anxiously awaiting their father's return from a distant city, 
there rode post haste into the courtyard of the palace a 
herald whom the king had sent before him, to say that he 
was bringing back a new wife. 

Now, in itself, there was nothing very strange or 
dreadful in the fact that the king should marry again, 
but, as the old lady-in-waiting soon guessed, the queen, in 
spite of her beauty, was a witch, and as it was easy to see 
that she was jealous of everyone who might gain power 
over her husband, it boded ill for Geirlaug and Grethari. 
The faithful woman could not sleep for thinking about 
her charges, and her soul sank when, a few months after 
the marriage, war broke out with a country across the 
seas, and the king rode away at the head of his troops. 
Then there happened what she had so long expected. 
One night, when, unlike her usual habit, she was sleeping 
soundly — afterwards she felt sure that a drug had been 
put into her food — the witch came to the tower. Exactly 
what she did there no one knew, but, when the sun rose, 
the beds of Grethari and Geirlaug were empty. At dawn 
the queen summoned some of her guards, and told them 
that she had been warned in a dream that some evil fate 
would befall her through a wild beast, and bade them go 
out and kill every animal within two miles of the palace. 
But the only beasts they found were two black foals of 
wondrous beauty, fitted for the king's riding ; it seemed 
a pity to kill them, for what harm could two little foals 
do anyone ? So they let them run away, frisking over 
the plain, and returned to the palace. 

'Did you see nothing, really nothing?' asked the 
queen, when they again appeared before her. 

* Nothing, your majesty,' they replied. But the queen 


did not believe them, and when they were gone, she gave 
orders to her steward that at supper the guards should be 
well plied with strong drink so that their tongues should 
be loosened, and, further, that he was to give heed to their 
babble, and report to her whatever they might let fall. 

* Your majesty's commands have been obeyed/ said 
the steward when, late in the evening, he begged 
admittance to the royal apartments ; ' but, after all, the 
men have told you the truth. I listened to their talk 
from beginning to end, and nothing did they see save two 
black foals/ He might have added more, but the look 
in the queen's blazing eyes terrified him, and, bowing 
hastily, he backed quickly out of her presence. 

In a week's time the king came home, and right glad 
were all the courtiers to see him. 

1 Now, perhaps, she will find someone else to scream 
at/ whispered they amongst themselves. * She ' was the 
queen, who had vented her rage on her attendants 
during these days, though what had happened to make 
her so angry nobody knew. But whatever might be the 
meaning of it, things would be sure to improve with the 
king to rule in the palace instead of his wife. Unfortu- 
nately, their joy only lasted a short while ; for the very 
first night after the king's arrival the queen related the 
evil dream she had dreamt in his absence, and begged 
him to go out the next morning and kill every living 
creature he saw within two miles of the city. The king, 
who always believed everything the queen said, promised 
to do as she wished. But before he had ridden through 
the lovely gardens that surrounded the palace, he was 
attracted by the singing of two little blue birds perched 
on a scarlet-berried holly, which made him thmk of 
everything beautiful that he had ever heard of or 
imagined. Hour after hour passed by, and still the birds 
sang, and still the king listened, though of course he 
never guessed that it was Geirlaug and Grethari whose 
notes filled him with enchantment. At length darkness 

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fell ; the birds' voices were hushed, and the king awoke 
with a start to find that for that day his promise to the 
queen could not be kept. 

' Well ! did you see anything ? ' she asked eagerly, 
when the king entered her apartments. 

'Ah, my dear, I am almost ashamed to confess to 
you. But the fact is that before I rode as far as the 
western gate the singing of two strange little blue birds 
made me forget all else in the world. And you will 
hardly believe it — but not until it grew dark did I 
remember where I was and what I should have been 
doing. However, to-morrow nothing shall hinder me 
from fulfilling your desires.' 

' There will be no to-morrow/ muttered the queen, as 
she turned away with a curious glitter in her eyes. But 
the king did not hear her. 

That night the king gave a great supper in the 
palace in honour of the victory he had gained over the 
enemy. The three men whom the queen had sent forth 
to slay the wild beasts held positions of trust in the 
household, for to them was committed the custody of the 
queen's person. And on the occasion of a feast their 
places were always next that of the king, so it was 
easy for the queen to scatter a slow but fatal poison in 
their cups without anyone being the wiser. Before 
dawn the palace was roused by the news that the king 
was dead, and that the three officers of the guards were 
dying also. Of course nobody's cries and laments were 
as loud as those of the queen. But when once the 
splendid funeral was over, she gave out that she was 
going to shut herself up in a distant castle till the year 
of her mourning was over, and after appointing a regent 
of the kingdom, she set out attended only by a maid who 
knew all her secrets. Once she had left the palace 
she quickly began to work her spells, to discover under 
what form Geirlaug and Grethari lay hidden. Happily, 
the princess had studied magic under a former governess, 

OL. D 


so was able to fathom her stepmother's wicked plot, 
and hastily changed herself into a whale, and her foster- 
brother into its fin. Then the queen took the shape 
of a shark and gave chase. 

For several hours a fierce battle raged between the 
whale and the shark, and the sea around was red with 
blood ; first one of the combatants got the better, and then 
the other, but at length it became plain to the crowd of 
little fishes gathered round to watch, that the victory 
would be to the whale. And so it was. But when, after 
a mighty struggle, the shark floated dead and harmless 
on the surface of the water, the whale was so exhausted 
that she had only strength enough to drag her wounded 
body into a quiet little bay, and for three days she re- 
mained there as still and motionless as if she had been 
dead herself. At the end of the three days her wounds 
were healed, and she began to think what it was best 
to do. 

* Let us go back to your father's kingdom/ she said 
to Grethari, when they had both resumed their proper 
shapes, and were sitting on a high cliff above the sea. 

* How clever you are ! I never should have thought 
of that ! ' answered Grethari, who, in truth, was not 
clever at all. But Geirlaug took a small bos of white 
powder from her dress, and sprinkled some over him 
and some over herself, and, quicker than lightning, they 
found themselves in the palace grounds from which 
Grethari had been carried off by the dragon so many 
years before. 

* Now take up the band with the golden letters and 
bind it about your forehead/ said Geirlaug, ' and go 
boldly up to the castle. And, remember, however great 
may be your thirst, you must drink nothing till you have 
first spoken to your father. If you do, ill will befall us 

* Wliy should I be thirsty ? * replied Grethari, staring 
at her in astonishment. 'It will not take me five 


minutes to reach the castle gate.' Geirlaug held her 
peace, but her eyes had in them a sad look. * Good- 
bye/ she said at last, and she turned and kissed him. 

Grethari had spoken truly when he declared that he 
could easily get to the castle in five minutes. At least, 
no one would have dreamed that it could possibly take 
any longer. Yet, to his surprise, the door which stood 
so widely open that he could see the colour of the hang- 
ings within never appeared to grow any nearer, while 
each moment the sun burned more hotly, and his tongue 
was parched with thirst. 

' I don't understand ! What can be the matter with 
me — and why haven't I reached the castle long ago ? ' 
he murmured to himself, as his knees began to knock 
under him with fatigue, and his head to swim. For a 
few more paces he staggered on blindly, when, suddenly, 
the sound of rushing water smote upon his ears ; and in 
a little wood that bordered the path he beheld a stream 
falling over a rock. At this sight his promise to Geirlaug 
was forgotten. Fighting his way through the brambles 
that tore his clothes, he cast himself down beside the 
fountain, and seizing the golden cup that hung from a 
tree, he drank a deep draught. 

When he rose up the remembrance of Geirlaug and 
of his past life had vanished, and, instead, something 
stirred dimly within him at the vision of the white-haired 
man and woman who stood in the open door with out- 
stretched hands. 

4 Grethari ! Grethari ! So you have come home at 
last,' cried they. 

For three hours Geirlaug waited in the spot 
where Grethari had left her, and then she began to 
understand what had happened. Her heart was heavy, 
but she soon made up her mind what to do, and pushing 
her way out of the wood, she skirted the high wall that 
enclosed the royal park and gardens, till she reached a 



small house where the forester lived with his two 

' Do you want a girl to sweep, and to milk the 
cows ? ' asked she, when one of the sisters answered her 

' Yes, we do, very badly ; and as you look strong and 
clean, we will take you for a servant if you like to come,' 
replied the young woman. 

1 But, first, what is your name ? ' 

' Lauphertha/ said Geirlaug quickly, for she did not 
wish anyone to know who she was ; and following her 
new mistress into the house, she begged to be taught 
her work without delay. And so clever was she, that, 
by-and-by, it began to be noised abroad that the strange 
girl who had come to live in the forester's house had 
not her equal in the whole kingdom for skill as well as 
beauty. Thus years slipped away, during which Geir- 
laug grew to be a woman. Now and then she caught 
glimpses of Grethari as he rode out to hunt in the forest, 
but when she saw him coming she hid herself behind the 
great trees, for her heart was still sore at his forgetful- 
ness. One day, however, when she was gathering herbs, 
he came upon her suddenly, before she had time to 
escape, though as she had stained her face and hands 
brown, and covered her beautiful hair with a scarlet cap, 
he did not guess her to be his foster-sister. 

1 What is your name, pretty maiden ? ' asked he. 

' Lauphertha/ answered the girl, with a low curtsy. 

1 Ah ! it is you, then, of whom I have heard so much/ 
said he ; ' you are too beautiful to spend your life serving 
the forester's daughters. Come with me to the palace, 
and my mother the queen will make you one of her 
ladies in waiting/ 

' Truly, that would be a great fortune/ replied the 
maiden. ' And, if you really mean it, I will go with you. 
But how shall I know that you are not jesting ? ' 

' Give me something to do for you, and I will do it, 


whatever it is/ cried the young man eagerly. And she 
cast down her eyes, and answered : 

' Go to the stable, and bind the calf that is there so 
that it shall not break loose in the night and wander 
away, for the forester and his daughters have treated me 
well, and I would not leave them with aught of my work 
still undone.' 

So Grethari set out for the stable where the calf 
stood, and wound the rope about its horns. But when 
he had made it fast to the wall, he found that a coil of 
the rope had twisted itself round his wrist, and, pull as he 
might, he could not get free. All night he wriggled and 


struggled till he was half dead with fatigue. But when 
the sun rose the rope suddenly fell away from him, and, 
very angry with the maiden, he dragged himself back to 
the palace. ' She is a witch,' he muttered crossly to 
himself, ' and I will have no more to do with her.' And 
he flung himself on his bed and slept all day. 

Not long after this adventure the king and queen 
sent their beloved son on an embassy to a neighbouring 
country to seek a bride from amongst the seven princesses. 
The most beautiful of all was, of course, the one chosen, 
and the young pair took ship without delay for the 
kingdom of the prince's parents. The wind was fair and 
the vessel so swift, that in less time than could have been 
expected the harbour nearest the castle was reached. 
A splendid carriage had been left in readiness close to 
the beach, but no horses were to be found, for every 
one had been carried off to take part in a great review 
which the king was to hold that day in honour of his 
son's marriage. 

* I can't stay here all day,' said the princess, crossly, 
when Grethari told her of the plight they were in. 'I am 
perfectly worn out as it is, and you will have to find 
something to draw the carriage, if it is only a donkey. 
If you don't, I will sail back straight to my father.' 

Poor Grethari was much troubled by the words of the 
princess. Not that he felt so very much in love with 
her, for during the voyage she had shown him several 
times how vain and bad tempered she was ; but as a 
prince and a bridegroom, he could not, of course, bear to 
think that any slight had been put upon her. So he 
hastily bade his attendants to go in search of some 
animal, and bring it at once to the place at which they 
were waiting. 

During the long pause the princess sat in the beautiful 
golden coach, her blue velvet mantle powdered with 
silver bees drawn closely round her, so that not even the 
tip of her nose could be seen. At length a girl appeared 

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driving a young ox in front of her, followed by one of 
the prince's messengers, who was talking eagerly. 

' Will you lend me your ox, fair maiden ? ' asked 
Grethari, jumping up and going to meet them. ' You 
shall fix your own price, and it shall be paid ungrudgingly, 
for never before was king's son in such a plight/ 

'My price is seats for me and my two friends behind 
you and your bride at the wedding feast/ answered she. 
And to this Grethari joyfully consented. 

Six horses would not have drawn the coach at the 
speed of this one ox. Trees and fields flew by so fast 
that the bride became quite giddy, and expected, besides, 
that they would be upset every moment. But, in spite 
of her fears, nothing happened, and they drew up in 
safety at the door of the palace, to the great surprise of 
the king and queen. The marriage preparations were 
hurried on, and by the end of the week everything was 
ready. It was, perhaps, fortunate that the princess was 
too busy with her clothes and her jewels during this 
period to pay much heed to Grethari, so that by the time 
the wedding day came round he had almost forgotten 
how cross and rude she had been on the journey. 

The oldest men and women in the town agreed that 
nothing so splendid had ever been seen as the bridal 
procession to the great hall, where the banquet was to be 
held, before the ceremony was celebrated in the palace. 
The princess was in high good humour, feeling that all 
eyes were upon her, and bowed and smiled right and left. 
Taking the prince's hand, she sailed proudly down the 
room, where the guests were already assembled, to her 
place at the head of the table by the side of the bride- 
groom. As she did so, three strange ladies in shining 
dresses of blue, green, and red, glided in and seated them- 
selves on a vacant bench immediately behind the young 
couple. The red lady was Geirlaug, who had brought with 
her the forester's daughters, and in one hand she held 
a wand of birch bark, and in the other a closed basket. 


Silently they sat as the feast proceeded ; hardly 
anyone noticed their presence, or, if they did, supposed 
them to be attendants of their future queen. Suddenly, 
when the merriment was at its height, Geirlaug opened 
the basket, and out flew a cock and hen. To the 
astonishment of everyone, the birds circled about in 
front of the royal pair, the cock plucking the feathers out 
of the tail of the hen, who tried in vain to escape from 

* Will you treat me as badly as Grethari treated 
Geirlaug? * cried the hen at last. And Grethari heard, and 
started up wildly. In an instant all the past rushed 
back to him ; the princess by his side was forgotten, and 
he only saw the face of the child with whom he had 
played long years ago. 

'Where is Geirlaug?' he exclaimed, looking round 
the hall ; and his eyes fell upon the strange lady. With 
a smile she held out a ring which he had given her on 
her twelfth birthday, when they were still children, 
without a thought of the future. ' You and none other 
shall be my wife,' he said, taking her hand, and leading 
her into the middle of the company. 

It is not easy to describe the scene that followed. Of 
course, nobody understood what had occurred, and the 
king and queen imagined that their son had suddenly gone 
mad. As for the princess her rage and fury were beyond 
belief. The guests left the hall as quickly as they could, 
so that the royal family might arrange their own affairs, 
and in the end it was settled that half the kingdom must 
be given to the despised princess, instead of a husband. 
She sailed back at once to her country, where she was 
soon betrothed to a young noble, whom, in reality, she 
liked much better than Grethari. That evening Grethari 
was married to Geirlaug, and they lived happily till they 
died, and made all their people happy also. 

[From NeuislSndischen VolhsmdrcJien.'] 


Two or three miles from the coast of France, anyone 
sailing in a ship on a calm day can see, deep, deep down, 
the trunks of great trees standing up in the water. 
Many hundreds of years ago these trees formed part of 
a large forest, full of all sorts of wild animals, and 
beyond the forest was a fine city, guarded by a castle in 
which dwelt the Dukes of Clarides. But little by little 
the sea drew nearer to the town ; the foundations of the 
houses became undermined and fell in, and at length a 
shining sea flowed over the land. However, all this 
happened a long time after the story I am going to tell 

The Dukes of Clarides had always lived in the midst 
of their people, and protected them both in war and 

At the period when this tale begins the Duke Eobert 
was dead, leaving a young and beautiful duchess who 
ruled in his stead. Of course everyone expected her to 
marry again, but she refused all suitors who sought 
her hand, saying that having only one soul she could 
have only one husband, and that her baby daughter was 
quite enough for her. 

One day she was sitting in the tower, which looked 
out over a rocky heath, covered in summer with purple 
and yellow flowers, when she beheld a troop of horsemen 
riding towards the castle. In the midst, seated on a 
white horse with black and silver trappings, was a lady 
whom the duchess at once knew to be her friend the 


Countess of Blanchelande, a young widow like herself, 
mother of a little boy two years older than Abeille des 
Clarides. The duchess hailed her arrival with delight, 
but her joy was soon turned into weeping when the 
countess sank down beside her on a pile of cushions, 
and told the reason of her visit. 

'As you know,' she said, taking her friend's hand 
and pressing it between her own, ' whenever a Countess of 
Blanchelande is about to die she finds a white rose lying 
on her pillow. Last night I went to bed feeling unusually 
happy, but this morning when I woke the rose was 
resting against my cheek. I have no one to help me in 
the world but you, and I have come to ask if you 
will take Youri my son, and let him be a brother to 

Tears choked the voice of the duchess, but she flung 
herself on the countess's neck, and pressed her close. 
Silently the two women took leave of each other, and 
silently the doomed lady mounted her horse and rode 
home again. Then, giving her sleeping boy into the 
care of Francoeur, her steward, she laid herself quietly 
on her bed, where, the next morning, they found her dead 
and peaceful. 

So Youri and Abeille grew up side by side, and the 
duchess faithfully kept her promise, and was a mother to 
them both. As they got bigger she often took them 
with her on her journeys through her duchy, and 
taught them to know her people, and to pity and to 
aid them. 

It was on one of these journeys that, after passing 
through meadows covered with flowers, Youri caught 
sight of a great glittering expanse lying beneath some 
distant mountains. 

1 What is that, godmother ? ' he asked, waving his 
hand. ' The shield of a giant, I suppose.' 

' No ; a silver plate as big as the moon ! ' said Abeille, 
twisting herself round on her pony. 


'It is neither a silver plate nor a giant's shield/ 
replied the duchess; ' but a beautiful lake. Still, in 
spite of its beauty, it is dangerous to go near it, for in its 
depths dwell some Undines, or water spirits, who lure all 
passers-by to their deaths.' 

Nothing more was said about the lake, but the 
children did not forget it, and one morning, after they 
had returned to the castle, Abeille came up to Youri. 

' The tower door is open/ whispered she ; ' let us 
go up. Perhaps we shall find some fairies.' 

But they did not find any fairies ; only, when they 
x^eached the roof, the lake looked bluer and more en- 
chanting than ever. Abeille gazed at it for a moment, 
and then she said : 

* Do you see ? I mean to go there ! ' 

1 But you mustn't/ cried Youri. ' You heard what 
your mother said. And, besides, it is so far ; how could 
we get there?' 

* You ought to know that/ answered Abeille scornfully. 
1 What is the good of being a man, and learning all sorts 
of things, if you have to ask me. However, there are 
plenty of other men in the world, and I shall get one of 
them to tell me.' 

Youri coloured; Abeille had never spoken like this 
before, and, instead of being two years younger than 
himself, she suddenly seemed many years older. She 
stood with her mocking eyes fixed on him, till he grew 
angry at being outdone by a girl, and taking her hand he 
said boldly : 

1 Very well, we will both go to the lake.' 

The next afternoon, when the duchess was working 
at her tapestry surrounded by her maidens, the children 
went out, as usual, to play in the garden. The moment 
they found themselves alone, Youri turned to Abeille, 
and holding out his hand, said : 

' Come.' Digitize 


* Come where ? ' asked Abeille, opening her eyes very 

i To the lake, of course/ answered the boy. 

Abeille was silent. It was one thing to pretend you 
meant to be disobedient some day, a long time off, and 
quite another to start for such a distant place without 
anyone knowing that you had left the garden. ' And 
in satin shoes, too ! How stupid boys were, to be 
sure ! ' 

' Stupid or not, I am going to the lake, and you are 
going with me ! ' said Youri, who had not forgotten or 
forgiven the look she had cast on him the day before. 
* Unless,' added he, ' you are afraid, and in that case I 
shall go alone/ 

This was too much for Abeille. Bursting into tears, 
she flung herself on Youri's neck, and declared that 
wherever he went she would go too. So, peace having 
been made between them, they set out. 

It was a hot day, and the townspeople were in- 
doors waiting till the sun was low in the sky before 
they set out either to work or play, so the children 
passed through the streets unperceived, and crossed the 
river by the bridge into the flowery meadows along the 
road by which they had ridden with the duchess. By- 
and-by Abeille began to feel thirsty, but the sun had 
drunk up all the water, and not a drop was left for her. 
They walked on a little further, and by good luck found 
a cherry-tree covered with ripe fruit, and after a rest and 
a refreshing meal, they were sure that they were strong 
enough to reach the lake in a few minutes. But soon 
Abeille began to limp and to say that her foot hurt her, 
and Youri had to untie the ribbons that fastened her 
shoe and see what was the matter. A stone had got in, 
so this was easily set right, and for a while they skipped 
along the path singing and chattering, till Abeille stopped 
again. This time her shoe had come off, and turning to 
pick it up she caught sight of the towers of the castle, 

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looking such a long way off that her heart sank, and she 
burst into tears. 

' It is getting dark, and the wolves will eat us/ 
sobbed she. But Youri put his arms round her and 
comforted her. 

* Why, we are close to the lake now. There is 
nothing to be afraid of ! We shall be home again to 
supper,' cried he. And Abeille dried her eyes, and 
trotted on beside him. 

Yes, the lake was there, blue and silvery with purple 
and gold irises growing on its banks, and white water- 
lilies floated on its bosom. Not a trace was there of a 
man, or of one of the great beasts so much feared by 
Abeille, but only the marks of tiny forked feet on the 
sand. The little girl at once pulled off her torn shoes 
and stockings and let the water flow over her, while 
Youri looked about for some nuts or strawberries. But 
none were to be found. 

' I noticed, a little way back, a clump of blackberry 
bushes/ said he. * Wait here for me, and I will go and 
gather some fruit, and after that we will start home 
again/ And Abeille, leaning her head drowsily against a 
cushion of soft moss, murmured something in reply, and 
soon fell asleep. In her dream a crow, bearing the 
smallest man that ever was seen, appeared hovering for 
a moment above her, and then vanished. At the same 
instant Youri returned and placed by her side a large 
leaf-full of strawberries. 

* It is a pity to wake her just yet/ thought he, and 
wandered off beyond a clump of silvery willows to a 
spot from which he could get a view of the whole lake. 
In the moonlight, the light mist that hung over the 
surface made it look like fairyland. Then gradually 
the silver veil seemed to break up, and the shapes of fair 
women with outstretched hands and long green locks 
floated towards him. Seized with a sudden fright, the 
boy turned to fly. But it was too late. 

OL. E 


Unconscious of the terrible doom that had befallen 
her foster-brother, Abeille slept on, and did not awake 
even when a crowd of little men with white beards down 
to their knees came and stood in a circle round her. 

' What shall we do with her ? ' asked Pic, who 
seemed older than any of them, though they were all 
very old. 

' Build a cage and put her into it,' answered Eug. 

' No ! No ! What should such a beautiful princess 
do in a cage ? ' cried Dig. And Tad, who was the kindest 
of them all, proposed to carry her home to her parents. 
But the other gnomes were too pleased with their new 
toy to listen to this for a moment. 

' Look, she is waking/ whispered Pau. And as he 
spoke Abeille slowly opened her eyes. At first she 
imagined she was still dreaming ; but as the little men 
did not move, it suddenly dawned upon her that they 
were real, and starting to her feet, she called loudly : 

* Youri ! Youri ! Where are you ? ' 

At the sound of her voice the gnomes only pressed 
more closely round her, and, trembling with fear, she hid 
her face in her hands. The gnomes were at first much 
puzzled to know what to do ; then Tad, climbing on a 
branch of the willow tree that hung over her, stooped 
down, and gently stroked her fingers. The child under- 
stood that he meant to be kind, and letting her hands 
fall, gazed at her captors. After an instant's pause she 
said : 

' Little men, it is a great pity that you are so ugly. 
But, all the same, I will love you if you will only give 
me something to eat, as I am dying of hunger.' 

A rustle was heard among the group as she spoke. 
Some were very angry at being called ugly, and said she 
deserved no better fate than to be left where she was. 
Others laughed, and declared that it did not matter what 
a mere mortal thought about them ; while Tad bade Bog, 
their messenger, fetch her some milk and honey and the 


finest white bread that was made in their ovens under 
the earth. In less time than Abeille would have taken 
to tie her shoe he was back again, mounted on his crow. 
And by the time she had eaten the bread and honey and 
drunk the milk, Abeille was not frightened any more, 
and felt quite ready to talk. 

1 Little men,' she said, looking up with a smile, 
* your supper was very good, and I thank you for it. 
My name is Abeille, and my brother is called Youri. 
Help me to find him, and tell me which is the path that 
leads to the castle, for mother must think something 
dreadful has happened to us ! ' 

'But your feet are so sore that you cannot walk,' 
answered Dig. ' And we may not cross the bounds into 
your country. The best we can do is to make a litter of 
twigs and cover it with moss, and we will bear you into 
the mountains, and present you to our king.' 

Now, many a little girl would have been terrified at 
the thought of being carried off alone, she did not know 
where. But Abeille, when she had recovered from her 
first fright, was pleased at the notion of her strange 

1 How much she would have to tell her mother and 
Youri on her return home ! Probably they would never 
go inside a mountain, if they lived to be a hundred.' So 
she curled herself comfortably on her nest of moss, and 
waited to see what would happen. 

Up, and up, and up they went ; and by-and-by Abeille 
fell asleep again, and did not wake till the sun was shining. 
Up, and up, and up, for the little men could only walk very 
slowly, though they could spring over rocks quicker than 
any mortal. Suddenly the light that streamed through 
the branches of the litter began to change. It seemed 
hardly less bright, but it was certainly different ; then 
the litter was put down, and the gnomes crowded round 
and helped Abeille to step out of it. 

Before her stood a little man not half her size, but 



splendidly dressed and full of dignity. On his head was 
a crown of such huge diamonds that you wondered how 
his small body could support it. A royal mantle fell 
from his shoulders, and in his hand he held a lance. 

' King Loc/ said one of the forest gnomes, ' we found 
this beautiful child asleep by the lake, and have brought 
her to you. She says that her name is Abeille, and her 
mother is the Duchesse des Clarides.' 

* You have done well,' answered the king ; ' she shall 
be one of us/ And standing on tiptoe, so that he could 
kiss her hand, he told her that they would all take care 
of her and make her happy, and that anything she 
wished for she should have at once. 

1 1 want a pair of shoes/ replied Abeille. 

1 Shoes ! ' commanded the king, striking the ground 
with his lance ; and immediately a lovely pair of silver 
shoes embroidered with pearls were slipped on her feet 
by one of the gnomes. 

'They are beautiful shoes,* said Abeille rather doubt- 
fully ; ' but do you think they will carry me all the way 
back to my mother ? * 

' No, they are not meant for rough roads/ replied the 
king, ' but for walking about the smooth paths of the 
mountain, for we have many wonders to show you/ 

1 Little King Loc,' answered Abeille, ' take away these 
beautiful slippers and give me a pair of wooden shoes 
instead, and let me go back to my mother/ But King Loc 
only shook his head. 

' Little King Loc,' said Abeille again — and this time 
her voice trembled — ' let me go back to my mother and 
Youri, and I will love you with all my heart, nearly as 
well as I love them/ 

' Who is Youri ? ' asked King Loc. 

' Why — Youri — who has lived with us since I was a 
baby/ replied Abeille ; surprised that he did not know 
what everyone else was aware of, and never guessing 
that by mentioning the boy she was sealing her own 


fate. For King Loc had already thought what a good 
wife she would make in a few years' time, and he did not 
want Youri to come between them. So he was silent, 
and Abeille, seeing he was not pleased, burst into tears. 

* Little King Loc,' she cried, taking hold of a corner 
of his mantle, * think how unhappy my mother will be. 
She will fancy that wild beasts have eaten me, or that I 
have got drowned in the lake.' 

' Be comforted,' replied King Loc ; ' I will send her a 
dream, so that she shall know that you are safe.' 

At this Abeille's sad face brightened. ' Little King 
Loc,' she said, smiling, ' how clever you are ! But you 
must send her a dream every night, so that she shall see 
me — and me a dream, so that I may see her.' 

And this King Loc promised to do. 

When Abeille grew accustomed to do without her 
mother and Youri, she made herself happy enough in her 
new home. Everyone was kind to her, and petted her, 
and then there were such quantities of new things for 
her to see. The gnomes were always busy, and knew 
how to fashion beautiful toys as well or better than the 
people who lived on the earth ; and now and then, 
wandering with Tad or Dig in the underground passages, 
Abeille would catch a glimpse of blue sky through a rent 
in the rocks, and this she loved best of all. In this 
manner six years passed away. 

1 His Highness King Loc wishes to see you in his 
presence chamber,' said Tad, one morning, to Abeille, who 
was singing to herself on a golden lute ; and Abeille, 
wondering why the king had grown so formal all of a 
sudden, got up obediently. Directly she appeared, King 
Loc opened a door in the wall which led into his treasure 
chamber. Abeille had never been there before, and was 
amazed at the splendid things heaped up before her. 
Gold, jewels, brocades, carpets, lay round the walls, and 
she walked about examining one glittering object after 
another, while King Loc mounted a throne of gold and 


ivory at one end of the hall, and watched her. * Choose 
whatever you wish,' he said at last. A necklace of most 
lovely pearls was hanging from the wall, and after 
hesitating for a moment between that and a circlet of 
diamonds and sapphires, Abeille stretched up her hand 
towards it. But before she touched it her eyes lighted 
on a tiny piece of sky visible through a crack of the rock, 
and her hand dropped by her side. ' Little King Loc, 
let me go up to the earth once again/ she said. 

Then King Loc made a sign to the treasurer, who 
opened a coffer full of nothing but precious stones, larger 
and more dazzling than were worn by any earthly 
monarch. * Choose what you will, Abeille/ whispered 
King Loc. 

But Abeille only shook her head. 

* A drop of dew in the garden at Clarides is brighter 
to me than the best of those diamonds/ she answered, 
* and the bluest of the stones are not as blue as the eyes 
of Youri.' And as she spoke a sharp pain ran through the 
heart of King Loc. For an instant he said nothing, then 
he lifted his head and looked at her. * Only those who 
despise riches should possess them. Take this crown, 
from henceforth you are the Princess of the Gnomes.' 

During thirty days no work was done in those under- 
ground regions, for a feast was held in honour of the new 
princess. At the end of that period the king appeared 
before Abeille, clad in his most splendid garments, and 
solemnly asked her to be his wife. 

* Little King Loc/ answered the girl, ' I love you as 
you are, for your goodness and kindness to me ; but 
never, never can I love you as anything else.' 

The king sighed. It was only what he had expected ; 
still, his disappointment was great, though he tried bravely 
to hide it, and even to smile as he said : ' Then, Abeille, 
will you promise me one thing? If there should come a 
day when you find that there is somebody whom you 
could love, will you tell me ? ' 


And in her turn Abeille promised. 

After this, in spite of the fact that everyone was just 
as kind to her as before, Abeille was no longer the merry 
child who passed all her days playing with the little 
gnomes. People who dwell under the earth grow up 
much faster than those who live on its surface, and, at 
thirteen, the girl was already a woman. Besides, King 
Loc's words had set her thinking; she spent many hours 
by herself, and her face was no longer round and rosy, 
but thin and pale. It was in vain that the gnomes did 
their best to entice her into her old games, they had lost 
their interest, and even her lute lay unnoticed on the 

But one morning a change seemed to come over her. 
Leaving the room hung with beautiful silks, where she 
usually sat alone, she entered the king's presence, and 
taking his hand she led him through long corridors till 
they came to a place where a strip of blue sky was to be 

* Little King Loc/ she said, turning her eyes upon 
him, * let me behold my mother again, or I shall surely 
die.' Her voice shook, and her whole body trembled. 
Even an enemy might have pitied her ; but the king, who 
loved her, answered nothing. All day long Abeille stayed 
there, watching the light fade, and the sky grow pale. 
By-and-by the stars came out, but the girl never moved 
from her place. Suddenly a hand touched her. She 
looked round with a start, and there was King Loc, 
covered from head to foot in a dark mantle, holding 
another over his arm. ' Put on this and follow me/ was 
all he said. But Abeille somehow knew that she was 
going to see her mother. 

On, and on, and on they went, through passages where 
Abeille had never been before, and at length she was out 
in the world again. Oh ! how beautiful it all was ! How 
fresh was the air, and how sweet was the smell of the 
flowers ! She felt as if she should die with joy ; but at 


that moment King Loc lifted her off the ground, and, 
tiny though he was, carried her quite easily across 
the garden and through an open door into the silent 

' Listen, Abeille,' he whispered softly. ' You have 
guessed where we are going, and you know that every 
night I send your mother a vision of you, and she talks 
to it in her dream, and smiles at it. To-night it will be 
no vision she sees, but you yourself ; only remember, that 
if you touch her or speak to her my power is lost, 
and never more will she behold either you or your 

By this time they had reached the room which 
Abeille knew so well, and her heart beat violently as the 
gnome carried her over the threshold. By the light of a 
lamp hanging over the bed Abeille could see her mother, 
beautiful still, but with a face that had grown pale and 
sad. As she gazed the sadness vanished, and a bright 
smile came in its stead. Her mother's arms were 
stretched out towards her, and the girl, her eyes filled 
with tears of joy, was stooping to meet them, when King 
Loc hastily snatched her up, and bore her back to the 
realm of the gnomes. 

If the king imagined that by granting Abeille's 
request he would make her happy, he soon found out 
his mistake, for all day long the girl sat weeping, 
paying no heed to the efforts of her friends to comfort 

' Tell me what is making you so unhappy ? ' said King 
Loc, at last. And Abeille answered : 

1 Little King Loc, and all my friends here, you are so 
good and kind that I know that you are miserable when 
I am in trouble. I would be happy if I could, but it is 
stronger than I. I am weeping because I shall never 
see again Youri de Blanchelande, whom I love with all 
my heart. It is a worse grief than parting with my 
mother, for at least I know where she is and what she 

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is doing ; while, as for Youri, I cannot tell if he is dead 
or alive.' 

The gnomes were all silent. Kind as they were, they 
were not mortals, and had never felt either great joys or 
deep sorrows. Only King Loc dimly guessed at some- 
thing of both, and he went away to consult an old, old 
gnome, who lived in the lowest depth of the mountain, 
and had spectacles of every sort, that enabled him to see 
all that was happening, not only on the earth, but under 
the sea. 

Nur, for such was his name, tried many of these 
spectacles before he could discover anything about Youri 
de Blanchelande. 

' There he is ! ' he cried at last. * He is sitting in the 
palace of the Undines, under the great lake ; but he does 
not like his prison, and longs to be back in the world, 
doing great deeds.' 

It was true. In the seven years that had passed 
since he had left the castle of Clarides to go with 
Abeille to the blue lake, Youri in his turn had become a 

The older he grew the more weary he got of the 
petting and spoiling he received at the hands of the 
green-haired maidens, till, one day, he flung himself at 
the feet of the "Undine queen, and implored permission 
to return to his old home. 

The queen stooped down and stroked his hair. 

' We cannot spare you,' she murmured gently. ' Stay 
here, and you shall be king, and marry me.' 

' But it is Abeille I want to marry,' said the youth 
boldly. But he might as well have talked to the winds, 
for at last the queen grew angry, and ordered him to be 
put in a crystal cage which was built for him round a 
pointed rock. 

It was here that King Loc, aided by the spectacles of 
Nur, found him after many weeks' journey. As we know, 
the gnomes walk slowly, and the way was long and 


difficult. Luckily, before he started, he had taken with 
him his magic ring, and the moment it touched the wall 
the crystal cage split from top to bottom. 

' Follow that path, and you will find yourself in the 
world again,' he said to Youri ; and without waiting to 
listen to the young man's thanks, set out on the road he 
had come. 

' Bog/ he cried to the little man on the crow, who 
had ridden to meet him, * hasten to the palace and in- 
form the Princess Abeille that Youri de Blanchelande, 
for seven years a captive in the kingdom of the Undines, 
has now returned to the castle of Clarides.' 

The first person whom Youri met as he came out of 
the mountain was the tailor who had made all his clothes 
from the time that he came to live at the castle. Of this 
old friend, who was nearly beside himself with joy at 
the sight of the little master, lost for so many years, 
the count begged for news of his foster-mother and 

' Alas ! my lord, where can you have been that you 
do not know that the Princess Abeille was carried off by 
the gnomes on the very day that you disappeared your- 
self ? At least, so we guess. Ah ! that day has left 
many a mark on our duchess ! Yet she is not without a 
gleam of hope that her daughter is living yet, for every 
night the poor mother is visited by a dream which tells 
her all that the princess is doing.' 

The good man went on to tell of all the changes that 
seven years had brought about in the village, but Youri 
heard nothing that he said, for his mind was busy with 
thoughts of Abeille. 

At length he roused himself, and ashamed of his 
delay, he hastened to the chamber of the duchess, who 
held him in her arms as if she would never let him go. 
By-and-by, however, when she became calmer, he began 
to question her about Abeille, and how best to deliver 



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her from the power of the gnomes. The duchess then 
told him that she had sent out men in all directions 
to look for the children directly they were found to be 
missing, and that one of them had noticed a troop of 
little men far away on the mountains, evidently carrying 
a litter. He was hastening after them, when, at his feet, 
he beheld a tiny satin slipper, which he stooped to pick 
up. But as he did so a dozen of the gnomes had 
swarmed upon him like flies, and beat him about the 
head till he dropped the slipper, which they took away 
with them, leaving the poor man dizzy with pain. When 
he recovered his senses the group on the mountain had 

That night, when everyone was asleep, Youri and his 
old servant Francoeur stole softly down into the armoury, 
and dressed themselves in light suits of chain armour, 
with helmets and short swords, all complete. Then 
they mounted two horses that Francceur had tied up in 
the forest, and set forth for the kingdom of the gnomes. 
At the end of an hour's hard riding, they came to the 
cavern which Francoeur had heard from childhood led 
into the centre of the earth. Here they dismounted, and 
entered cautiously, expecting to find darkness as thick as 
what they had left outside. But they had only gone 
a few steps when they were nearly blinded by a sudden 
blaze of light, which seemed to proceed from a sort of 
portcullis door which barred the way in front of them. 

* Who are you ? ' asked a voice. And the count 
answered : 

1 Youri de Blanchelande, who has come to rescue 
Abeille des Clarides.' And at these words the gate 
slowly swung open, and closed behind the two strangers. 

Youri listened to the clang with a spasm of fear in 
his heart; then the desperate position he was in gave 
him courage. There was no retreat for him now, and 
in front was drawn up a large force of gnomes, whose 


arrows were falling like hail about him. He raised his 
shield to ward them off, and as he did so his eyes fell on 
a little man standing on a rock above the rest, with a 
crown on his head and a royal mantle on his shoulders. 
In an instant Youri had flung away his shield and sprung 


forward, regardless of the arrows that still fell about 

1 Oh, is it you, is it really you, my deliverer ? And is 
it your subjects who hold as a captive Abeille whom I 
love ? ' 

' I am King Loc,' was the answer. And the figure 

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with the long beard bent his eyes kindly on the eager 
youth. ' If Abeille has lived with us all these years, for 
many of them she was quite happy. But the gnomes, of 
whom you think so little, are a just people, and they will 
not keep her against her will. Beg the princess to be 
good enough to come hither,' he added, turning to Rug. 

Amidst a dead silence Abeille entered the vast space 
and looked around her. At first she saw nothing but a 
vast host of gnomes perched on the walls and crowding 
on the floor of the big hall. Then her eyes met those of 
Youri, and with a cry that came from her heart she 
darted towards him, and threw herself on his breast. 

' Abeille,' said the king, when he had watched her for 
a moment, with a look of pain on his face, ' is this the 
man that you wish to marry ? ' 

' Yes, Little King Loc, this is he and nobody else ! 
And see how I can laugh now, and how happy I am ! ' 
And with that she began to cry. 

' Hush, Abeille ! there must be no tears to-day,' said 
Youri, gently stroking her hair. ' Come, dry your eyes, 
and thank King Loc, who rescued me from the cage in 
the realm of the Undines.' 

As Youri spoke Abeille lifted her head, and a great 
light came into her face. At last she understood. 

' You did that for me ? ' she whispered. ' Ah, Little 
King Loc ! ' 

So, loaded with presents, and followed by regrets, 
Abeille went home. In a few days the marriage took 
place ; but however happy she was, and however busy 
she might be, never a month passed by without a visit 
from Abeille to her friends in the kingdom of the 

[Adapted and shortened from the story of Abeille, by M. Anatole France.] 

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One day a bunniah, 1 or banker, was walking along a 
country road when he overtook a farmer going in the 
same direction. Now the bunniah was very grasping, 
like most of his class, and was lamenting that he had 
had no chance of making any money that day ; but at 
the sight of the man in front he brightened up wonder- 

' That is a piece of luck,' he said to himself. ' Let 
me see if this farmer is not good for something ' ; and he 
hastened his steps. 

After they had bid one another good day very politely, 
the bunniah said to the farmer : 

' I was just thinking how dull I felt, when I beheld 
you, but since we are going the same way, I shall find 
the road quite short in such agreeable company.' 

' With all my heart,' replied the farmer ; ' but what 
shall we talk about ? A city man like you will not care 
to hear about cattle and crops.' 

1 Oh,' said the bunniah, ' I'll tell you what we will do. 
We will each tell the other the wildest tale we can 
imagine, and he who first throws doubt on the other's 
story shall pay him a hundred rupees.' 

To this the farmer agreed, and begged the bunniah 
to begin, as he was the bigger man of the two ; and 
privately he made up his mind that, however improbable 
it might be, nothing should induce him to hint that he 

1 Grain merchant and banker, and generally a very greedy 

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did not believe in the bunniah's tale. Thus politely 
pressed the great man started : 

' I was going along this road one day, when I met a 
merchant travelling with a great train of camels laden 
with merchandise ' 

1 Very likely/ murmured the farmer ; ' I've seen that 
kind of thing myself.' 

* No less than one hundred and one camels/ continued 
the bunniah, r all tied together by their nose strings — nose 
to tail — and stretching along the road for almost half a 
mile ' 

' Well ? ' said the farmer. 

' Well, a kite swooped down on the foremost camel 
and bore him off, struggling, into the air, and by reason of 
them all being tied together the other hundred camels 
had to follow ' 

* Amazing, the strength of that kite ! ' said the farmer. 
' But — well — yes, doubtless, yes — well — one hundred and 
one camels — and what did he do with them ? ' 

' You doubt it ? ' demanded the bunniah. 

' Not a bit ! ' said the farmer heartily. 

' Well/ continued the bunniah, ' it happened that the 
princess of a neighbouring kingdom was sitting in her 
private garden, having her hair combed by her maid, and 
she was looking upward, with her head thrown back, 
whilst the maid tugged away at the comb, when that 
wretched kite, with its prey, went soaring overhead ; and, 
as luck would have it, the camels gave an extra kick 
just then, the kite lost his hold, and the whole hundred 
and one camels dropped right into the princess's left 

' Poor thing ! ' said the farmer ; ' it's so painful having 
anything in one's eye/ 

* Well,' said the bunniah, who was now warming to 
his task, ' the princess shook her head, and sprang up, 
clapping her hand on her eye. " Oh dear ! " she cried, 
" I've got something in my eye, and how it does smart ! " ' 




1 It always does,' observed the farmer ; ' perfectly true. 
Well, what did the poor thing do ? ' 

1 At the sound of her cries, the maid came running to 
her assistance. " Let me look," said she ; and with that 
she gave the princess's eyelid a twitch, and out came 
a camel, which the maid put in her pocket — '('Ah!' 
grunted the farmer) — ' and then she just twisted up the 
corner of her headcloth and fished a hundred more of 
them out of the princess's eye, and popped them all into 
her pocket with the other,' 

Here the bunniah gasped as one who is out of breath, 
but the farmer looked at him slowly. ' Well ? ' said he. 

' I can't think of anything more now,' replied the 
bunniah. * Besides, that is the end ; what do you say 
to it ? ' 

' Wonderful,' replied the farmer, ' and no doubt 
perfectly true ! ' 

' Well, it is your turn,' said the bunniah. ' I am so 
anxious to hear your story. I am sure it will be very 

' Yes, I think it will,' answered the farmer, and he 
began : 

' My father was a very prosperous man. Five cows 
he had, and three yoke of oxen, and half a dozen buffaloes, 
and goats in abundance ; but of all his possessions the 
thing he loved best was a mare. A well-bred mare she 
was — oh, a very fine mare 1 * 

* Yes, yes,' interrupted the bunniah, ' get on ! ' 

* I'm getting on,' said the farmer ; ' don't you hurry 
me ! Well, one day, as ill-luck would have it, he rode 
that mare to market with a torn saddle, which galled her 
so, that when they got home she had a sore on her back 
as big as the palm of your hand.' 

Yes,' said the bunniah impatiently, ' what next ? ' 
' It was June,' said the farmer, ' and you know how,, 
in June, the air is full of dust-storms with rain at times ? 
Well, the poor beast got dust in that wound, and what's. 

1 zea by Microsoft (& 

'1 JtpB^^l^s^toi^ 
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more, with the dust some grains of wheat, and, what 
with the dust and the heat and the wet, that wheat 
sprouted and began to grow ! ' 

1 Wheat does when it gets a fair chance,' said the 

' Yes ; and the next thing we knew was that there 
was a crop of wheat on that horse's back as big as any- 
thing you ever saw in a hundred-acre field, and we had 
to hire twenty men to help reap it ! ' 

' One generally has to hire extra hands for reaping,' 
said the bunniah. 

' And we got four hundred maunds of wheat off that 
mare's back ! * continued the farmer. 

' A good crop I ' murmured the bunniah. 

1 And your father,' said the farmer, ' a poor wretch, 
with hardly enough to keep body and soul together — (the 
bunniah snorted, but was silent) — came to my father, and 
he said, putting his hands together as humble as could 
be ' 

The bunniah here flashed a furious glance at his 
companion, but bit his lips and held his peace. 

' " I haven't tasted food for a week. Oh ! great master, 
let me have the loan of sixteen maunds of wheat from 
your store, and I will repay you." 

' " Certainly, neighbour," answered my father ; " take 
what you need, and repay it as you can." ' 

* Well ? ' demanded the bunniah with fury in his 

1 Well, he took the wheat away with him,' replied the 
farmer ; ' but he never repaid it, and it's a debt to this 
day. Sometimes I wonder whether I shall not go to 
law about it/ 

Then the bunniah began running his thumb quickly 
up and down the fingers of his right hand, and his lips 
moved in quick calculation. 

' What is the matter ? ' asked the farmer. 

' The wheat is the cheaper ; I'll pay you for the wheat/ 


said the bunniah, with the calmness of despair, as he 
remembered that by his own arrangement he was bound 
to give the farmer a hundred rupees. 

And to this day they say in those parts, when a man 
owes a debt : ' Give me the money ; or, if not that, give 
me at least the wheat.' 

[This is from oral tradition.] 

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One hot night, in Hindustan, a king and queen lay awake 
in the palace in the midst of the city. Every now and 
then a faint air blew through the lattice, and they hoped 
they were going to sleep, but they never did. Presently 
they became more broad awake than ever at the sound 
of a howl outside the palace. 

' Listen to that tiger ! ' remarked the king. 

' Tiger ? * replied the queen. ' How should there be a 
tiger inside the city ? It was only a jackal.' 

* I tell you it was a tiger,' said the king. 

' And I tell you that you were dreaming if you thought 
it was anything but a jackal,' answered the queen. 

1 1 say it was a tiger/ cried the king ; ' don't contradict 

' Nonsense ! ' snapped the queen. ' It was a jackal.' 
And the dispute waxed so warm that the king said at 
last : 

' Very well, we'll call the guard and ask ; and if it 
was a jackal I'll leave this kingdom to you and go away ; 
and if it was a tiger then you shall go, and I will marry 
a new wife.' 

'As you like,' answered the queen; ' there isn't any 
doubt which it was.' 

So the king called the two soldiers who were on 
guard outside and put the question to them. But, whilst 
the dispute was going on, the king and queen had got so 
excited and talked so loud that the guards had heard 
nearly all they said, and one man observed to the other : 


1 Mind you declare that the king is right. It certainly 
was a jackal, but, if we say so, the king will probably 
not keep his word about going away, and we shall get into 
trouble, so we had better take his side/ 

To this the other agreed ; therefore, when the king 
asked them what animal they had seen, both the guards 
said it was certainly a tiger, and that the king was right 
of course, as he always was. The king made no remark, 
but sent for a palanquin, and ordered the queen to be 
placed in it, bidding the four bearers of the palanquin 
to take her a long way off into the forest and there leave 
her. In spite of her tears, she was forced to obey, and 
away the bearers went for three days and three nights 
until they came to a dense wood. There they set down 
the palanquin with the queen in it, and started home again. 

Now the queen thought to herself that the king could 
not mean to send her away for good, and that as soon as 
he had got over his fit of temper he would summon her 
back ; so she stayed quite still for a long time, listening 
with all her ears for approaching footsteps, but heard 
none. After a while she grew nervous, for she was all 
alone, and put her head out of the palanquin and looked 
about her. Day was just breaking, and birds and insects 
were beginning to stir; the leaves rustled in a warm 
breeze ; but, although the queen's eyes wandered in all 
directions, there was no sign of any human being. Then 
her spirit gave way, and she began to cry. 

It so happened that close to the spot where the 
queen's palanquin had been set down, there dwelt a man 
who had a tiny farm in the midst of the forest, where 
he and his wife lived alone far from any neighbours. As 
it was hot weather the farmer had been sleeping on the 
flat roof of his house, but was awakened by the sound of 
weeping. He jumped up and ran downstairs as fast as 
he could, and into the forest towards the place the sound 
came from, and there he found the palanquin. 

1 Oh, poor soul that weeps,' cried the farmer, standing 


a little way off, ' who are you ? ' At this salutation from 
a stranger the queen grew silent, dreading she knew not 

' Oh, you that weep,' repeated the farmer, ' fear not 


gHe Tarnygy finds tHe Queen, xoeefrintj; by the fc\W^mv 

to speak to me, for you are to me as a daughter. Tell 
me, who are you ? ' 

His voice was so kind that the queen gathered up 
her courage and spoke. And when she had told her story, 


the farmer called his wife, who led her to their house, 
and gave her food to eat, and a bed to lie on. And in the 
farm, a few days later, a little prince was born, and by 
his mother's wish named Ameer AIL 

Years passed without a sign from the king. His wife 
might have been dead for all he seemed to care, though 
the queen still lived with the farmer, and the little prince 
had by this time grown up into a strong, handsome, and 
healthy youth. Out in the forest they seemed far from 
the world ; very few ever came near them, and the 
prince was continually begging his mother and the 
farmer to be allowed to go away and seek adventures and 
to make his own living. But she and the wise farmer 
always counselled him to wait, until, at last, when he was 
eighteen years of age, they had not the heart to forbid 
him any longer. So he started off one early morning, 
with a sword by his side, a big brass pot to hold water, a 
few pieces of silver, and a galail l in his hand, with which 
to shoot birds as he travelled. 

Many a weary mile he tramped day after day, until, 
one morning, he saw before him just such a forest as that 
in which he had been born and bred, and he stepped 
joyfully into it, like one who goes to meet an old friend. 
Presently, as he made his way through a thicket, he saw 
a pigeon which he thought would make a good dinner, so 
he fired a pellet at it from his galail, but missed the 
pigeon, which fluttered away with a startled clatter. At 
the same instant he heard a great clamour from beyond 
the thicket, and, on reaching the spot, he found an ugly 
old woman streaming wet and crying loudly as she lifted 
from her head an earthen vessel with a hole in it from 
which the water was pouring. When she saw the prince 
with his galail in his hand, she called out : 

' Oh, wretched one ! why must you choose an old 
woman like me to play your pranks upon ? Where am I 

1 A galail is a double-stringed bow from which bullets or pellets 
of hard dried clay can be fired with considerable, force and precision. 



to get a fresh pitcher instead of this one that you have 
broken with your foolish tricks ? And how am I to go so 
far for water twice when one journey wearies me ? ' 

1 But, mother,' replied the prince, ' I played no trick 
upon you ! I did but shoot at a pigeon that should have 

served me for dinner, and as my pellet missed it, it must 
have broken your pitcher. But, in exchange, you shall 
have my brass pot, and that will not break easily ; and as 
for getting water, tell me where to find it, and I'll fetch 
it while you dry your garments in the sun, and carry it 
whither you will/ 


At this the old woman's face brightened. She 
showed him where to seek the water, and when he 
returned a few minutes later with his pot filled to the 
brim, she led the way without a word, and he followed. 
In a short while they came to a hut in the forest, and as 
they drew near it Ameer AH beheld in the doorway the 
loveliest damsel his eyes had ever looked on. At the 
sight of a stranger she drew her veil about her and 
stepped into the hut, and much as he wished to see her 
again Ameer Ali could think of no excuse by which to 
bring her back, and so, with a heavy heart, he made his 
salutation, and bade the old woman farewell. But when 
he had gone a little way she called after him : 

' If ever you are in trouble or danger, come to 
where you now stand and cry : " Fairy of the forest ! 
Fairy of the forest, help me now ! " And I will listen 
to you.' 

The prince thanked her and continued his journey, 
but he thought little of the old woman's saying, and much 
of the lovely damsel. Shortly afterwards he arrived at a 
city ; and, as he was now in great straits, having come to 
the end of his money, he walked straight to the palace of 
the king and asked for employment. The king said he 
had plenty of servants and wanted no more ; but the 
young man pleaded so hard that at last the rajah was 
sorry for him, and promised that he should enter his 
bodyguard on the condition that he would undertake 
any service which was especially difficult or dangerous. 
This was just what Ameer Ali wanted, and he agreed to 
do whatever the king might wish. 

Soon after this, on a dark and stormy night, when 
the river roared beneath the palace walls, the sound of a 
woman weeping and wailing was heard above the storm. 
The king ordered a servant to go and see what was the 
matter ; but the servant, falling on his knees in terror, 
begged that he might not be sent on such an errand, 
particularly on a night so wild, when evil spirits and 


witches were sure to be abroad. Indeed, so frightened 
was he, that the king, who was very kind-hearted, bade 
another to go in his stead, but each one showed the same 
strange fear. Then Ameer Ali stepped forward : 

' This is my duty, your majesty,' he said ; * I will go.' 

The king nodded, and off he went. The night was as 
dark as pitch, and the wind blew furiously and drove the 
rain in sheets into his face ; but he made his way down 
to the ford under the palace walls and stepped into 
the flooded water. Inch by inch, and foot by foot he 
fought his way across, now nearly swept off his feet by 
some sudden swirl or eddy, now narrowly escaping being 
caught in the branches of some floating tree that came 
tossing and swinging down the stream. At length he 
emerged, panting and dripping wet, on the other side. 
Close by the bank stood a gallows, and on the gallows 
hung the body of some evil-doer, whilst from the foot 
of it came the sound of sobbing that the king had 

Ameer Ali was so grieved for the one who wept there 
that he thought nothing of the wildness of the night or 
of the roaring river. As for ghosts and witches, they had 
never troubled him, so he walked up towards the gallows 
where crouched the figure of the woman. 

' What ails you ? ' he said. 

Now the woman was not really a woman at all, but 
a horrid kind of witch who really lived in Witchland, and 
had no business on earth. If ever a man strayed into 
Witchland the ogresses used to eat him up, and this old 
witch thought she would like to catch a man for supper, 
and that is why she had been sobbing and crying in 
hopes that someone out of pity might come to her 

So when Ameer Ali questioned her, she replied ; 

' Ah, kind sir, it is my poor son who hangs upon that 
gallows ; help me to get him down and I will bless you 
for ever.' 



Ameer Ali thought that her voice sounded rather 
eager than sorrowful, and he suspected that she was 
not telling the truth, so he determined to be very 

iW€€R fiU IdlTIS Ttt£ ANKLET 


1 That will be rather difficult/ he said, ' for the gallows 
is high, and we have no ladder.' 

' Ah, but if you will just stoop down and let me climb 
upon your shoulders,' answered the old witch, ' I think 


I could reach him.' And her voice now sounded so cruel 
that Ameer Ali was sure that she intended some evil. 
But he only said : 

* Very well, we will try.' With that he drew his- 
sword, pretending that he needed it to lean upon, and 
bent so that the old woman could clamber on to his back, 
which she did very nimbly. Then, suddenly, he felt a 
noose slipped over his neck, and the old witch sprang 
from his shoulders on to the gallows, crying : 

' Now, foolish one, I have got you, and will kill you 
for my supper.' 

But Ameer Ali gave a sweep upwards with his sharp 
sword to cut the rope that she had slipped round his 
neck, and not only cut the cord but cut also the old 
woman's foot as it dangled above him ; and with a yell of 
pain and anger she vanished into the darkness. 

Ameer Ali then sat down to collect himself a little, 
and felt upon the ground by his side an anklet that had 
evidently fallen off the old witch's foot. This he put into* 
his pocket, and as the storm had by this time passed 
over he made his way back to the palace. When he had 
finished his story, he took the anklet out of his pocket 
and handed it to the king, who, like everyone else, was- 
amazed at the glory of the jewels which composed it. 
Indeed, Ameer Ali himself was astonished, for he had 
slipped the anklet into his pocket in the dark and had 
not looked at it since. The king was delighted at its 
beauty, and having praised and rewarded Ameer Ali, he 
gave the anklet to his daughter, a proud and spoiled 

Now in the women's apartments in the palace there 
hung two cages, in one of which was a parrot and 
in the other a starling, and these two birds could talk 
as well as human beings. They were both pets of the 
princess who always fed them herself, and the next day, 
as she was walking grandly about with her treasure tied 


round her ankle, she heard the starling say to the 
parrot : 

' Oh, Tote ' (that was the parrot's name), ' how do you 
think the princess looks in her new jewel?' 

1 Think ? ' snapped the parrot, who was cross he cause 
they hadn't given him his bath that morning, ' I think 
she looks like a washerwoman's daughter, with one shoe 
on and the other off ! Why doesn't she wear two of them, 
instead of going about with one leg adorned and the 
other bare ? ' 

When the princess heard this she burst into tears ; 
and sending for her father she declared that he must get 
her another such an anklet to wear on the other leg, or 
she would die of shame. So the king sent for Ameer Ali 
and told him that he must get a second anklet exactly 
like the first within a month, or he should be hanged, for 
the princess would certainly die of disappointment. 

Poor Ameer Ali was greatly troubled at the king's 
command, but he thought to himself that he had, at any 
rate, a month in which to lay his plans. He left the 
palace at once, and inquired of everyone where the finest 
jewels were to be got; but though he sought night and 
day he never found one to compare with the anklet. At 
last only a week remained, and he was in sore difficulty, 
when he remembered the Fairy of the forest, and deter- 
mined to go without loss of time and seek her. Therefore 
away he went, and after a day's travelling he reached the 
cottage in the forest, and, standing where he had stood 
when the old woman called to him, he cried : 

1 Fairy of the forest ! Fairy of the forest ! Help me ! 
help me ! ' 

Then there appeared in the doorway the beautiful 
girl he had seen before, whom in all his wanderings he 
had never forgotten. 

* What is the matter ? ' she asked, in a voice so soft 
that he listened like one struck dumb, and she had to 
repeat the question before he could answer. Then he 

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told her his story, and she went within the cottage and 
came back with two wands, and a pot of boiling water. 
The two wands she planted in the ground about six feet 
apart, and then, turning to him, she said : 

1 1 am going to lie down between these two wands. 
You must then draw your sword and cut off my foot, 
and, as soon as you have done that, you must seize it 
and hold it over the cauldron, and every drop of blood 
that falls from it into the water will become a jewel. 
Next you must change the wands so that the one that 
stood at my head is at my feet, and the one at my feet 
stands at my head, and place the severed foot against 
the wound and it will heal, and I shall become quite well 
again as before.' 

At first Ameer Ali declared that he would sooner be 
hanged twenty times over than treat her so roughly ; but 
at length she persuaded him to do her bidding. He 
nearly fainted himself with horror when he found that, 
after the cruel blow which lopped her foot off, she lay 
as one lifeless ; but he held the severed foot over the 
cauldron, and, as drops of blood fell from it, and he saw 
each turn in the water into shining gems, his heart took 
courage. Very soon there were plenty of jewels in the 
cauldron, and he quickly changed the wands, placed the 
severed foot against the wound, and immediately the two 
parts became one as before. Then the maiden opened 
her eyes, sprang to her feet, and drawing her veil about 
her, ran into the hut, and would not come out or speak to 
him any more. For a long while he waited, but, as she 
did not appear, he gathered up the precious stones and 
returned to the palace. He easily got someone to set 
the jewels, and found that there were enough to make, 
not only one, but three rare and beautiful anklets, and 
these he duly presented to the king on the very day that 
his month of grace was over. 

The king embraced him warmly, and made him rich 
gifts ; and the next day the vain princess put two anklets 
or, G 



on each foot, and strutted up and down in them 
admiring herself in the mirrors that lined her room. 

' Oh, Tote,' asked the starling, ' how do you think our 
princess looks now in these fine jewels?* 

' Ugh ! ' growled the parrot, who was really always 
cross in the mornings, and never recovered his temper 
until after lunch, ' she's got all her heauty at one end of 
her now ; if she had a few of those fine gew-gaws round 

her neck and wrists she would look better ; but now, to 
my mind, she looks more than ever like the washer- 
woman's daughter dressed up.' 

Poor princess ! she wept and stormed and raved until 
she made herself quite ill ; and then she declared to her 
father that unless she had bracelets and necklace to 
match the anklets she would die. 

Again the king sent for Ameer Ali, and ordered 


him to get a necklace and bracelets to match those 
anklets within a month, or be put to a cruel death. 

And again Ameer Ali spent nearly the whole month 
searching for the jewels, but all in vain. At length he 
made his way to the hut in the forest, and stood and 
cried : 

' Fairy of the forest ! Fairy of the forest ! Help me ! 
help me ! ' 

Once more the beautiful maiden appeared at his 
summons and asked what he wanted, and when he had 
told her she said he must do exactly as he had done the 
first time, except that now he must cut off both her hands 
and her head. Her words turned Ameer Ali pale with 
horror ; but she reminded him that no harm had come to 
her before, and at last he consented to do as she bade 
him. From her severed hands and head there fell into 
the cauldron bracelets and chains of rubies and diamonds, 
emeralds and pearls that surpassed any that ever were 
seen. Then the head and hands were joined on to the 
body, and left neither sign nor scar. Full of gratitude, 
Ameer Ali tried to speak to her, but she ran into the 
house and would not come back, and he was forced to 
leave her and go away laden with the jewels. 

When, on the day appointed, Ameer Ali produced 
a necklace and bracelets each more beautiful and price- 
less than the last, the king's astonishment knew no 
bounds, and as for his daughter she was nearly mad with 
joy. The very next morning she put on all her finery, 
and thought that now, at least, that disagreeable parrot 
could find no fault with her appearance, and she listened 
eagerly when she heard the starling say : 

' Oh, Tot6, how do you think our princess is looking 
now ? ' 

' Very fine, no doubt/ grumbled the parrot ; ' but what 
is the use of dressing up like that for oneself only ? She 
ought to have a husband — why doesn't she marry the 
man who got her all these splendid things? ' 

g 2 


Then the princess sent for her father and told him 
that she wished to marry Ameer AH. 

1 My dear child/ said her father, ' you really are very 
difficult to please, and want something new every day. 
It certainly is time you married someone, and if you 
choose this man, of course he shall marry you.' 

So the king sent for Ameer Ali, and told him that 
within a month he proposed to do him the honour of 
marrying him to the princess, and making him heir to 
the throne. 

On hearing this speech Ameer Ali bowed low and 
answered that he had done and would do the king all 
the service that lay in his power, save only this one 
thing. The king, who considered his daughter's hand a 
prize for any man, flew into a passion, and the princess 
was more furious still. Ameer Ali was instantly thrown 
into the most dismal prison that they could find, and 
ordered to be kept there until the king had time to think 
in what way he should be put to death. 

Meanwhile the king determined that the princess 
ought in any case to be married without delay, so he sent 
forth heralds throughout the neighbouring countries, 
proclaiming that on a certain day any person fitted for 
a bridegroom and heir to the throne should present 
himself at the palace. 

When the day came, all the court were gathered 
together, and a great crowd assembled of men, young 
and old, who thought that they had as good a chance as 
anyone else to gain both the throne and the princess. 
As soon as the king was seated, he called upon an usher 
to summon the first claimant. But, just then, a farmer, 
who stood in front of the crowd, cried out that he had a 
petition to offer. 

1 Well, hasten then,' said the king ; ' I have no time 
to waste.' 

' Tour majesty,' said the farmer, ' has now lived and 
administered justice long in this city, and will know that 


the tiger who is king of beasts hunts only in the forest, 
whilst jackals hunt in every place where there is some- 
thing to be picked up.' 

' What is all this ? what is all this ? ' asked the king. 
* The man must be mad ! ' 

' No, your majesty/ answered the farmer ; ' I would 
only remind your majesty that there are plenty of jackals 
gathered to-day to try and claim your daughter and 
kingdom : every city has sent them, and they wait hungry 
and eager ; but do not, O king, mistake or pretend again 
to mistake the howl of a jackal for the hunting cry of 
a tiger.' 

The king turned first red and then pale. 

' There is,' continued the farmer, ' a royal tiger bred 
in the forest who has the first and only true claim to- 
your throne.' 

' Where ? what do you mean ? ' stammered the king, 
growing pale as' he listened. 

' In prison,' replied the farmer ; ' if your majesty will 
clear this court of the jackals I will explain.' 

' Clear the court ! ' commanded the king ; and, very 
unwillingly, the visitors left the palace. 

' Now tell me what riddle this is,' said he. 

Then the farmer told the king and his ministers how 
he had rescued the queen and brought up Ameer Ali ; 
and he fetched the old queen herself, whom he had left 
outside. At the sight of her the king was filled with 
shame and self-reproach, and wished he could have lived 
his life over again, and not have married the mother of 
the proud princess, who caused him endless trouble until 
her death. 

' My day is past,' said he. And he gave up his crown 
to his son Ameer Ali, who went once more and called to 
the forest fairy to provide him with a queen to share his 

' There is only one person I will marry,' said he. And 
this time the maiden did not run away, but agreed to be 


his wife. So the two were married without delay, and 
lived long and reigned happily. 

As for the old woman whose pitcher Ameer Ali had 
broken, she was the forest maiden's fairy godmother, 
and when she was no longer needed to look after the 
girl she gladly returned to fairyland. 

The old king has never been heard to contradict his 
wife any more. If he even looks as if he does not agree 
with her, she smiles at him and says : 

1 Is it the tiger, then ? or the jackal ? ' And he has 
not another word to say. 

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Once upon a time there was a king of Lombardy who, 
though he was uglier than any of his subjects, loved 
beauty in others, so he married a wife who was declared 
by everyone to be the handsomest of women ; and, 
whispered some, the most ill-natured also. Certainly 
she could not endure the sight of a pretty person, and 
her ladies were all the plainest of their sex. Worse 
than all, she was desperately jealous of the king's son 
and daughter by his former wife. 

Unfortunately, in spite of all her evil qualities, the 
king was her complete slave, and badly though she 
treated the boy, the lovely princess was made to suffer 
ten times as much. Not contented with giving the girl, 
for a governess, a woman whose temper was as bad as 
the queen's own, the cruel stepmother did everything 
she could think of to spoil the girl's beauty, and to force 
her to appear as ugly as she was herself ; but, try as she 
might, when the hideous clothes and frightful brown 
paint had been removed, her loveliness shone out as 
bright as ever. 

Now the king of Lombardy was cousin to the Arch- 
duke of Placenza, who had lately lost his reason, to the 
great grief of his son and daughter, Perarthrites and 
Ferrandina. The doctors having all failed to restore 
him to health, the prince and princess sent a messenger 
to consult a famous enchantress, called the Mother of 
Sheaths, because everyone who visited her brought with 


him a knife, which she thrust into one of the sheaths 
with which her cavern was lined. However, they 
obtained little comfort from the witch, who bade them 
' seek their father's wits in the place where he had 
lost them.' Against the wishes of the chief ministers, 
Perarthrites and Ferrandina rode off to the mysterious 
castle where the king had slept when his terrible fate 
had overtaken him, and, once inside the gates, nothing 
more was heard of them. 

When three weeks had passed and still there was no 
news, the king's chief minister called a council to talk 
over the matter, and, at the end, it was decided that a 
company of distinguished persons should visit the Mother 
of Sheaths, and that the knives they must take with 
them should be of pure gold, richly set with precious 
stones. The witch was so pleased with the beauty of 
the gifts that she not only listened attentively to their 
story, but proceeded to a hole in the cavern, from which 
she drew out a little case containing a comb, and a steel 
collar, fastened by a gold key. 

' Carry this comb and the collar to every court until 
you find a lady beautiful enough to unlock the collar, 
and a man good enough to draw the comb from its case. 
When you have discovered these, you can return whence 
you came.' 

1 But I do not see,' said the chamberlain, ' how 
that will help us to bring back our lost prince and 

' It is all I can do for you,' answered the Mother of 
Sheaths ; and she went into the back of the cavern, 
where they dared not follow her. 

For the next few months the mad king's principal 
ministers wandered from one court to another, till at 
last they reached Lombardy, where they found that their 
story had already travelled before them. As soon as 


they appeared in the presence-chamber the king received 
them with open arms, for in his heart he had no doubt 
that his wife was the peerless beauty destined to unfasten 
the collar. And, indeed, if paint and hair-dye and 
magnificent dresses could have ensured her doing so, he 
would certainly have been right. But, blinded by his 
love for this wicked woman, he had really no idea that 
her charms were not her own. 

At the appointed hour the queen entered the throne- 
room, having by her side the young princess, in the most 
grievous plight imaginable. Her dress was so contrived 
as to give the idea that she had a hump ; her pink-and- 
white skin was thickly covered with yellow paint, and 
her black hair all hidden by a close-fitting brown cloth 
cap. Murmurs of indignation rose on all sides, and the 
ambassadors, who had frequently heard the princess 
compared to the lovely Ferrandina, were dumb with 
astonishment. As for the king, he could hardly raise 
his eyes from the ground, so ashamed was he ; and 
signing to his son to take his place, he withdrew from 
the scene. 

Mounting the throne, the prince commanded the trial 
to begin at once, and the collar was handed to the princess's 
governess, who, being one of the ugliest women that 
ever was seen, naturally failed to turn the key. Seizing 
the chance of his being for a short time in power, the 
prince resolved to punish her cruelties towards his sister, 
and especially this last one, to which she had prompted the 
queen, and ordered her to be taken out and executed, 
which was done, with great good will, by the attendants. 
He then further commanded the ladies in waiting to 
attend his sister to her apartments, and bathe her and 
dress her in the queen's most splendid robes, as she had 
none of her own ; and the queen, though gnashing her 
teeth with anger, for once dared not interfere. More 
quickly than could have been expected, the princess 
returned, looking so beautiful that if anyone had doubted 


before who would be able to unlock the collar they were 
instantly convinced. The prince glanced at her, but said 
nothing, and, signing to one of the ambassadors, he 
ordered him to make trial of the comb. One by one 
each man present did his best to remove it from its case, 
and one by one each was forced to own himself beaten. 
At length only the prince remained, but as he was the 
judge he must wait till the last. 

After the men had finished, the ladies of the court 
had the collar presented to them according to rank, but 
none could even turn the key. Finally it was handed 
to the queen, who managed to open it a little way. Her 
heart beat with triumph, but immediately it closed again 
with a snap, and she sank back, fainting from dis- 

By this time there were only left the prince and his 
sister ; and no sooner did he touch the case than it 
opened of itself, while the lock of the collar yielded 
directly the princess took hold of the key. Cries of 
delight rose from the courtiers and attendants ; but these 
were interrupted by a whirlwind accompanied by thick 
darkness, and followed by an earthquake. 

When all was calm again, and the sun shining, the 
prince and princess had disappeared. 

Although the king's son and daughter were the only 
persons who had vanished in the storm, unluckily they 
had been carried off in opposite directions. The rapid 
motion through the air deprived the princess of her senses, 
which she nearly lost a second time, from fright, when 
she was set down alone in the middle of a thick forest. 
She ran wildly about, calling to her brother to come to 
her aid ; but her cries only attracted the attention of some 
hungry wolves, who sprung towards her with their jaws 
gaping and their red tongues hanging out. Falling on 
her knees, she covered her face with one hand, uncon- 
sciously grasping the collar with the other, and awaited 
her doom. Already she could feel their hot breath on 

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her cheek, and crouched lower and lower, when the eyes 
of the foremost wolf caught sight of the collar. With a 
howl that echoed through the forest he bounded away, 
followed by his companions. 

As soon as the princess had recovered from the shock 
she rose and fled, without knowing whither, until she 
found herself in a broad road, and beheld, approaching 
her, a flock of sheep driven by two shepherds. She 
hastened towards them in order to implore their help, 
when suddenly the sheep caught sight of her collar and 
instantly scattered in all directions. 

* I must have something about me which frightens 
all beasts,' she thought, and took great comfort there- 
from ; and in good spirits she went her way, till she came 
to the gates of an old castle. She was just about to enter 
and beg for a night's shelter, when a snow white fox ran 
across the road, and stopped in front of her. 

He was so pretty, and had such bright beseeching eyes, 
that the princess hastily tucked the collar under her 
dress, lest he too should flee at the sight of it. Very 
gently she drew near, hoping he might follow her into 
the castle, but he only set off in another direction, and, 
tired though she was, something forced the girl to follow 
him. Thankful indeed was she when he turned a corner 
and sat down before the door of a tiny palace, which was 
built on the bank of a river. When she came up he 
took the hem of her dress between his teeth and led her 
into a room where there was a table covered with milk 
and fruit. After she had eaten and drunk, she lay down 
upon a pile of cushions, with the fox at her feet, and fell 
asleep to dream of her lost brother. 

If the princess was dreaming of her brother, he was no 
less thinking of her, on the wild seashore, whither the 
whirlwind had cast him. All was bleak and bare, except 
a green island which he could only see from the top of 
a high rock where he passed all his days, gazing on the 
waving palm trees and glittering waterfalls in the distance. 


' Suppose she should be there ? ' he said to himself ; and 
though there was no reason to expect that the princess 
should be in that place more than in any other, he could 
not get the notion out of his head. 

A song, sung in the loveliest voice he had ever heard, 
roused the young man from his musings, and he instantly 
turned in the direction from which it had come. But 
though the singer seemed close to him he could see her 
nowhere, and indeed, no sooner had he reached one spot 
than the voice sounded in another direction, and he 
followed it up and down, till he was suddenly stopped by 
the sight of a large fish's skin, which lay stretched on the 
sand between the sea and the rocks. The thing was so 
ugly, that he stepped aside in disgust, and at that instant 
something leapt into the sea behind his back. This 
caused him to look round. The fish's skin was no longer 
there, but in a cave in the rock behind it he discovered a 
bath of ebony lined with gold, which glittered in the 

Days passed without any adventures, and the prince 
had almost made up his mind to leave the shore, and to 
seek his sister inland, when once more he heard the 
voice that had so charmed him, and beheld the bloody 
skin lying on the sand, and the bath, now filled with 
water, in the grotto. Little sleep had he that night, and 
before the dawn he hid himself behind the rocks, deter- 
mined not to move from the place till the fish should 
come back again. 

He had not very long to wait, for with the first rays 
of the sun there appeared, out to sea, a shining white 
object which w T as blown by gentle breezes towards the 
shore. As it came nearer he beheld a maiden, of dazzling 
loveliness, seated in a shell where blues and pinks and 
greens all melted into each other. In her hand she held 
the rope with which the shell was guided. 

The prince was so bewildered at her beauty that he 
forgot that he was in hiding, and, rushing out, sank on 


his knees on the sands, holding out his hands towards 
this wonderful vision. But as he did so the comb and 
its case fell out of his pocket, and at the sight the lady 
uttered a wild shriek, and, steering her shell round, 
vanished speedily in the direction of the island. Throw- 
ing off his clothes, the prince was preparing to swim 
after her, when he perceived beside him a snow white 
fox, looking the same way, and making frantic signs 
with his paws, till a small boat put out and set sail 
towards them, to the great joy of the little creature. 

When the boat drew up to the beach, the fox waved 
his paw towards the prince's clothes, which he took to 
mean that he was to put them on again. This done, 
they both got in, and had just pushed off, when the 
prince suddenly recollected that the sight of the comb 
had frightened away the beautiful lady. In a transport 
of fury he raised his hand to fling it into the sea, but the 
fox sprang on him and held on so tightly to his arm that 
he could not lift it. At that moment a horseman on the 
shore let fly an arrow at the fox, with so true an aim 
that the little creature fell heavily into the well of the 
boat, and closed its eyes, like one who has received his 
death-blow. The grief of the prince was sore. He 
instantly leaped to land, but the murderer was already 
far distant. When the young man turned round again, 
the boat and the fox were nowhere to be seen. 

An approaching storm drove him into the grotto, 
which was lighted up by a multitude of tapers, each one 
being in the shape of a knife half out of its sheath. Over 
the bath was a tent-shaped covering of white, embroidered 
with sheaths, and from beneath it came a voice : 

1 Prince, will you trust me whatever happens, knowing 
that my heart is yours, and as I feel that yours is mine ? 
But, beware, for if you give the smallest sign of fear, 
when the tent is opened, you will lose me for ever.' 

She did well to warn him ; and even then he had 
much ado to keep the colour in his cheeks arid his hand 


from trembling, for a crocodile's head with snapping 
jaws advanced towards him. With a mighty effort he 
managed to remain still, and to gaze steadily at the 
horrible beast, and as he did so, the head bent backwards, 
and beneath it was seen the lovely countenance of the 
Lady of the Shell. 

1 Quick ! prince ! quick ! the time is flying, comb me 
at once or I shall vanish from your sight.' At her words 
he took out the comb, but found to his surprise that it 
needed all his strength to draw it from its sheath. And, 
strange to say, that in proportion as the comb emerged 
from its sheath the lady's head was freed from its horrible 
covering, and her body rose a little more out of the water. 
When her shoulders and arms were freed, she called to 
him : 

' Enough, so far you have obeyed my orders. Now 
burn my skin/ 

1 Ah, that I can never do,' cried he ; but the lady cut 
him short. 

' Then we shall both rue it for ever,' she said gravely ; 
' for I can only be the wife of him who will burn my 
skin.' And while he still stood hesitating, the curtains of 
the tent fell back on her, and the tapers fizzled out. 

Bitterly repenting his slowness, he wandered towards 
the forest where a fire was burning, hardly knowing what 
he did ; but on his way he almost fell over the skin, 
which was lying across his path. 

' Ah, fool that I was ! This must be the skin she 
wished me to burn,' said he. And seizing it in both hands 
he flung it into the fire, where it exploded with a terrific 
noise. At first he rushed off to some distance, not 
knowing what might next befall, but after a while found 
that his steps had led him back to the place of the fire. 
The skin had gone and left no traces, but among the 
cinders he beheld something shining, which proved to be 
the magic collar. Ah ! then his sister, for whom he had 
so greatly longed, must be near at last ! And before he 

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could turn his head or pick up the collar, her arms were 
round his neck, and everything else was forgotten. 

* You shall tell your story first,' she said, when at 
length they could speak. And so he did ; but his head 
was so full of the Lady of the Shell that he forgot to say 
anything about the fox. And it was well that he had 
forgotten, for when the princess had poured forth her 
own adventures, she ended up by speaking of all she 
owed to the little white fox. 

* You cannot even guess the care he took of me in the 
little palace. But though nothing could exceed his kind- 
ness, I saw by his eyes that there was something he 
wanted me to give him, but I could not tell what. Alas ! 
the day came that I learnt it to my cost. I had hidden 
the collar in a thick bush, lest the fox should catch sight 
of it and be scared away as the other animals had been. 
But, one day, when we were in the garden, the sun 
happened to shine straight on it, and he sprang towards 
it with every sign of delight. He was about to seize it 
between his teeth when it closed with a loud noise. The 
fox fled away with a piercing scream, and though I have 
sought him far and wide, I have never seen him since. I 
was here when you flung the skin into the cinders, and 
no doubt, in my hurry to escape, the collar must have 
dropped from me. Ah, dear brother/ she continued with 
tears in her eyes, ' I can no longer live without my 
beloved fox ; help me, I entreat you, to find him.' 

So great was her grief that the prince dared not tell 
her what sad fate had overtaken the poor little animal, 
and trusted that time might soothe her. He assured 
her that he would go with her wherever she desired if 
she would grant him this one day to spend on the sea- 
shore ; and with this the princess was forced to be content. 

The prince was standing on the rock, looking out 
towards the lovely island, and straining his eyes to see the 
white sail once more, when frightful shrieks from the 
wood a little way off caused him to hasten with all his speed 

OL. H 


in that direction. He soon perceived a knight on horse- 
back, with a bow slung to his back, struggling to lift a 
woman on to his saddle. The knight's surprise at the 
sight of a man in this desolate spot caused him to drop the 
woman's arm, and she rushed to take shelter behind her 
defender, who, to his amazement, then recognised his 

1 How did you come here ? ' he asked coldly, more 
than half regretting that he had not left her to her fate ; 
but she read what was in his heart, and fell on her knees 
before him. 

' Oh, forgive me my wickedness/ she cried, ' for 
indeed I have repented of it long ago, and come to the 
aid of your father who has been sorely smitten by that mad 
archduke from whom you have just saved me ! There 
is no time to pursue him,' she added, as the prince started 
at the sound of the vanishing hoofs ; and as they pushed 
their way along the path she told him all that had 
happened since they had last met. 

' From the moment that the king knew of my cruelty 
to your sister,' said she, ' he vowed he would never see 
me again, and left the court in search of you both. I 
followed him secretly, but not being able to gain any 
tidings of him, consulted the Mother of Sheaths, who 
took me to rest in that island where the palm trees are 
waving. There she showed me a lovely princess who, 
under a spell, was forced daily to take the form of a 
crocodile, and when the dreaded moment arrived the skin 
appeared before her, and, shudder as she might, some 
unseen power impelled her to wrap herself in it and 
plunge into the sea. It is to this island I am leading 
you ; but first we must find your sister, for on her presence 
hangs the life of the white fox — if, indeed, he is not dead 

* The white fox ! ' exclaimed the prince. * What do 
you know of him ? ' 

' Not much,' answered the queen ; ' but, since I arrived 

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on the island, he was always with us, and charmed us 
all. Yesterday we missed him, but in the evening a 
little boat drifted up on the sands, and in it lay the fox, 
covered with blood. While his wounds were being 
tended in the palace with all the care imaginable, I set 
out to consult a wizard, who told me that I must enter 
the skiff and seek for the prince and princess of Lom- 
bardy, and that if, in twenty-four hours, I could bring 
them into the presence of the fox, his life would be saved. 
On a rock along the beach I found your father with an 
arrow through his shoulder, from the bow of his cousin 
the mad archduke, who was drawing another from his 
quiver, destined for me, when I fled into the forest ! ' 

1 My father so near ! ' cried the prince. ' We must 
return and seek him, and also look for my sister.' 

They found her in the grotto, with her father's head 
in her lap, trying vainly to staunch his wounds. Between 
them they contrived to carry him to the boat, which 
sailed swiftly towards the island. On the way the 
prince gently broke to his sister the sad state of the 
white fox. 

' Take me to him ! ' she said, as soon as the boat 
touched the island ; and in silence the queen went down 
the path to the palace. 

The white fox was lying on a soft mattress in front 
of a fire, his eyes closed, and a look on his face which 
told that death was not far distant. But he knew, some- 
how, that the princess was near him, and opened his 
eyes and wagged his tail feebly. The princess burst 
into sobs and tears, till a hand on her shoulder checked 

' Why do you waste the few moments that are left 
you in this manner ? ' asked the governor of the island 
sternly. ' Place the collar you wear round his neck, and 
he will be cured at once. But you must act quickly.' 

The princess seemed turned to stone as she listened. 




' The collar ! ' she gasped. * But I have not got it, I lost 

it in the forest ! ' And the thousand sheaths with which 

the walls were hung took up the cry : 

1 The collar is lost ! The collar is lost ! ' 

* What collar are you talking about ? ' asked the king, 

who was lying on another bed, with the physicians 

*\ ^he-Tfriqccas .sa,w& t^e 


bending over him. ' Here is one that I picked up among 
some cinders, before that madman shot me — perhaps it 
may be the one you want, or, at all events, it may do as 
well/ And he signed to an attendant to take the collar 
from the pocket of his velvet jerkin. 

The princess leapt forward with joy at the sight of 

^uigihzea by Microsofm 


the precious thing, and snatching it from the hand of the 
man she placed it round the neck of the fox. All present 
held their breath as they watched what was happening ; 
and what did happen was that his legs grew longer and 
longer, and his nose grew shorter and shorter. The fox 
was gone, and in his stead there lay Perarthrites, in a 
coat of thick white fur. 

But though the prince of Lombardy was rejoiced to 
see his friend and cousin again, his heart still bled for 
the beautiful lady who had vanished so mysteriously. His 
face was so troubled that the governor of the island 
marked it, and asked what was the matter. ' Oh ! help 
me, if you can,' cried the prince. ' The thought of the 
sufferings that the enchanted nymph may be undergoing 
tortures me ! ' 

* They are far worse than you can imagine,' gravely 
replied the governor ; ' but if you still possess your comb, 
you may yet relieve her of them. Ah ! that is well/ 
he continued, as the prince quickly drew the comb from 
its case. * Now follow me.' 

Not only the prince, but every one else followed ; 
and the governor led them down a long gallery to a 
heavy iron door, which flew open at its own accord. 
But what a sight met the prince's eyes ! The lady 
whom he had last beheld in peerless beauty was sitting 
in a chair wrapped in flames, which were twisting like 
hair about her head. Her face was swollen and red ; 
her mouth was open as if gasping for breath. Only her 
arms and neck were as lovely as ever in their whiteness. 

' This is your doing,' said the governor to the prince ; 
' you brought her to this when you burnt the crocodile's 
skin. Now try if, by combing, you can soothe her 

At the first touch of the comb the flames became 
suddenly extinguished ; at the second, the look of pain 
vanished from the face, and it shrank, into its usual size ; 
at the third, she rose from the chair, lovelier than she 


ever was before, and flung herself into the arms of her 
brother Perarthrites. 

After this there was nothing more to be done but to 
marry the two couples as fast as possible. And when 
the wedding was over, Perarthrites and his bride returned 
to Placenza, and Ferrandina and her husband to Lom- 
bardy, and they all lived happily till they died. 

[From Count Anthony Hamilton's Fairy Tales.] 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 


Once upon a time there lived in Hindustan two kings 
whose countries bordered upon each other ; but, as they 
were rivals in wealth and power, and one was a Hindu 
rajah and the other a Mohammedan badshah, they were 
not good friends at all. In order, however, to escape 
continual quarrels, the rajah and the badshah had drawn 
up an agreement, stamped and signed, declaring that 
if any of their subjects, from the least to the greatest, 
crossed the boundary between the two kingdoms, he 
might be seized and punished. 

One morning the badshah and his chief wazir, or 
prime minister, were just about to begin their morning's 
work over the affairs of the kingdom, and the badshah 
had taken up a pen and was cutting it to his liking with 
a sharp knife, when the knife slipped and cut off the 
tip of his finger. 

1 Oh-he, wazir ! ' cried the king, ' I've cut the tip of 
my finger off ! ' 

' That is good hearing ! ' said the wazir in answer. 

' Insolent one,' exclaimed the king. * Do you take 
pleasure in the misfortunes of others, and in mine 
also? Take him away, my guards, and put him in 
the court prison until I have time to punish him as he 
deserves ! ' 

Instantly the officers in attendance seized upon the 
luckless wazir, and dragged him out of the king's presence 
towards the narrow doorway, through which unhappy 
criminals were wont to be led to prison or execution. 


As the door opened to receive him, the wazir muttered 
something into his great white beard which the soldiers 
could not hear. 

' What said the rascal ? ' shouted the angry king. 

He says, ( he thanks your majesty/ replied one of the 
gaolers. And at his words, the king stared at the closing 
door, in anger and amazement. 

1 He must be mad/ he cried, ' for he is grateful, not 
only for the misfortunes of others, but for his own ; 
surely something has turned his head ! ' 

Now the king was very fond of his old wazir, and 
although the court physician came and bound up his 
injured finger with cool and healing ointment, and 
soothed the pain, he could not soothe the soreness of the 
king's heart, nor could any of all his ministers and 
courtiers, who found his majesty very cross all the day 

Early next morning the king ordered his horse and 
declared that he would go hunting. Instantly all was 
bustle and preparation in stable and hall, and by the 
time he was ready a score of ministers and huntsmen 
stood ready to mount and accompany him ; but to their 
astonishment the king would have none of them. In- 
deed, he glared at them so fiercely that they were 
glad to leave him. So away and away he wandered, 
over field and through forest, so moody and thoughtful 
that many a fat buck and gaudy pheasant escaped 
without notice, and so careless was he whither he was 
going that he strayed without perceiving it over into the 
rajah's territory, and only discovered the fact when, 
suddenly, men stepped from all sides out of a thicket, 
and there was nothing left but surrender. Then the 
poor badshah was seized and bound and taken to the 
rajah's prison, thinking most of the time of his wazir, 
who was suffering a similar fate, and wishing that, like 
the wazir, he could feel that there was something to give 
thanks for. _. ... . . .-. 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 


That night the rajah held a special council to consider 
what should be done to his rival who had thus given 
himself into his hands. All the Brahmans were sent for 
— fat priests who understood all about everything, and 
what days were lucky and what unlucky — and, whilst 
all the rest of the rajah's councillors were offering him 
different advice until he was nearly crazy with anger 
and indecision, the chief Brahman was squatting in a 
corner figuring out sums and signs to himself with an 
admiring group of lesser priests around him. At last he 
arose, and advanced towards the throne. 

' Well,' said the rajah anxiously, ' what have you to 
advise ? ' 

' A very unlucky day ! ' exclaimed the chief Brahman. 
' Oh, a very unlucky day ! The god Devi is full of wrath, 
and commands that to-morrow you must chop off this 
badshah's head and offer it in to him in sacrifice.' 

' Ah, well/ said the rajah, ' let it be done. I leave it- 
to you to carry out the sentence.' And he bowed to the 
priests and left the room. 

Before dawn great preparations were being made for 
a grand festival in honour of the great idol Devi. Hun- 
dreds of banners waved, hundreds of drummers drummed, 
hundreds of singers chanted chants, hundreds of priests, 
well washed and anointed, performed their sacred rites,, 
whilst the rajah sat, nervous and ill at ease, amongst 
hundreds of courtiers and servants, wishing it were all 
well over. At last the time came for the sacrifice to be 
offered, and the poor bldshah was led out bound, to 
have his head chopped off. 

The chief Brahman came along with a smile on his 
face, and a big sword in his hand, when, suddenly, he 
noticed that the badshah's finger was tied up in a bit 
of rag. Instantly he dropped the sword, and, with his 
eyes starting out of his head with excitement, pounced 
upon the rag and tore it off, and there he saw that the 
tip of his victim's finger was missing. At this he got 


very red and angry indeed, and he led the Mdshah up 
to where the rajah sat wondering. 

' Behold ! O rajah,' he said, ' this sacrifice is useless, 
the tip of his finger is gone ! A sacrifice is no sacrifice 
unless it is complete.' And he began to weep with rage 
and mortification. 

But instead of wailing likewise, the rajah gave a sigh 
of relief, and answered : ' Well, that settles the matter. 
If it had been anyone else I should not have minded ; 
but, somehow — a king and all — well, it doesn't seem quite 
right to sacrifice a king.' And with that he jumped up 
and with his jewelled dagger cut the badshah's cords, 
and marched with him out of the temple back to the 

After having bathed and refreshed his guest, the 
rajah loaded him with gifts, and himself accompanied 
him with a large escort as far as the frontier between 
their kingdoms, where, amidst salutes and great rejoicings, 
they tore up the old agreement and drew up another in 
which each king promised welcome and safe conduct to 
any of the other's people, from the least to the greatest, 
who came over the border on any errand whatever. And 
so they embraced, and each went his own way. 

When the bad shah got home that very evening he 
sent for his imprisoned wazir. 

' Well, wazir ! ' he said, when the old man had 
been brought before him, ' what think you has been 
happening to me ? ' 

' How can a man in prison know what is happening 
outside it ? ' answered the wazir. 

Then the badshah told him all his adventures. And 
when he had reached the end he added : 

' I have made up my mind, as a token of gratitude 
for my escape, to pardon you freely, if you will tell me 
why you gave thanks when I cut off the tip of my 

' Sire,' replied the old wazir, ' am I not right in 


thinking that it was a very lucky thing for you that you 
did cut off the tip of your finger, for otherwise you would 
certainly have lost your head. And to lose a scrap of 
one's finger is surely the least of the two evils.' 

' Very true,' answered the king, touching his head as 
he spoke, as if to make quite certain that it was still 
there, ' but yet — why did you likewise give thanks when 
I put you into prison ? ' 

1 1 gave thanks,' said the wazir, ' because it is good 
always to give thanks. And had I known that my being 
in prison was to prevent the god Devi claiming me 
instead of your majesty, as a perfect offering, I should 
have given greater thanks still/ 

[Punjabi story.] 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 


In the great country far away south, through which 
flows the river Nile, there lived a king who had an only 
child called Samba. 

Now, from the time that Samba could walk he 
showed signs of being afraid of everything, and as he 
grew bigger he became more and more frightened. At 
first his father's friends made light of it, and said to 
each other : 

1 It is strange to see a boy of our race running into 
a hut at the trumpeting of an elephant, and trembling 
with fear if a lion cub half his size comes near him ; but, 
after all, he is only a baby, and when he is older he will 
be as brave as the rest.' 

1 Yes, he is only a baby,' answered the king who 
overheard them, 'it will be all right by-and-by.' But, 
somehow, he sighed as he said it, and the men looked 
at him and made no reply. 

The years passed away, and Samba had become a 
tall and strong youth. He was good-natured and 
pleasant, and was liked by all, and if during his father's 
hunting parties he was seldom to be seen in any place 
of danger, he was too great a favourite for much to be 

1 When the king holds the feast and declares him to 
be his heir, he will cease to be a child,' murmured the 
rest of the people, as they had done before ; and on the 
day of the ceremony their hearts beat gladly, and they 
cried to each other : 

' It is Samba, Samba, whose chin is above the heads 


of other men, who will defend us against the tribes of 
the robbers ! ' 

Not many weeks after, the dwellers in the village 
awoke to find that during the night their herds had been 
driven away, and their herdsmen carried off into slavery 
by their enemies. Now was the time for Samba to 
show the brave spirit that had come to him with his 
manhood, and to ride forth at the head of the warriors 
of his race. But Samba could nowhere be found, and a 
party of the avengers went on their way without him. 

It was many days later before he came back, with 
his head held high, and a tale of a lion which he had 
tracked to its lair and killed, at the risk of his own life. 
A little while earlier and his people would have welcomed 
his story, and believed it all, but now it was too late. 

' Samba the Coward,' cried a voice from the crowd ; 
and the name stuck to him, even the very children 
shouted it at him, and his father did not spare him. 
At length he could bear it no longer, and made up his 
mind to leave his own land for another where peace 
had reigned since the memory of man. So, early next 
morning, he slipped out to the • king's stables, and 
choosing the quietest horse he could find, he rode away 

Never as long as he lived did Samba forget the 
terrors of that journey. He could hardly sleep at night 
for dread of the wild beasts that might be lurking 
behind every rock or bush, while, by day, the distant 
roar of a lion would cause him to start so violently, 
that he almost fell from his horse. A dozen times he 
was on the point of turning back, and it was not the 
terror of the mocking words and scornful laughs that 
kept him from doing so, but the terror lest he should be 
forced to take part in their wars. Therefore he held on, 
and deeply thankful he felt when the walls of a city, 
larger than he had ever dreamed of, rose before him. 


Drawing himself up to his full height, he rode 
proudly through the gate and past the palace, where, 
as was her custom, the princess was sitting on the 
terrace roof, watching the bustle in the street below. 

1 That is a gallant figure/ thought she, as Samba, 
mounted on his big black horse, steered his way skilfully 
among the crowds ; and, beckoning to a slave, she ordered 
him to go and meet the stranger, and ask him who he 
was and whence he came. 

1 Oh, princess, he is the son of a king, and heir to 
a country which lies near the Great Eiver/ answered 
the slave, when he had returned from questioning Samba. 
And the princess on hearing this news summoned her 
father, and told him that if she was not allowed to wed 
the stranger she would die unmarried. 

Like many other fathers, the king could refuse his 
daughter nothing, and besides, she had rejected so many 
suitors already that he was quite alarmed lest no man 
should be good enough for her. Therefore, after a talk 
with Samba, who charmed him by his good humour and 
pleasant ways, he gave his consent, and three days 
later the wedding feast was celebrated with the utmost 

The princess was very proud of her tall handsome 
husband, and for some time she was quite content that 
he should pass the days with her under the palm trees, 
telling her the stories that she loved, or amusing her 
with tales of the manners and customs of bis country, 
which were so different to those of her own. But, by- 
and-by, this was not enough ; she wanted other people 
to be proud of him too, and one day she said : 

' I really almost wish that those Moorish thieves from 
the north would come on one of their robbing expeditions. 
I should love so to see you ride out at the head of our 
men, to chase them home again. Ah, how happy I 
should be when the city rang with your noble deeds ! ' 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 

l£>-$J\MF>A found sXoilKmg by his lOif e. 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 


She looked lovingly at him as she spoke ; but, to her 
surprise, his face grew dark, and he answered hastily : 

' Never speak to me again of the Moors or of war. It 
was to escape from them that I fled from my own land, 
and at the first word of invasion I should leave you for 

1 How funny you are/ cried she, breaking into a 
laugh. ' The idea of anyone as big as you being afraid 
of a Moor ! But still, you mustn't say those things to 
anyone except me, or they might think you were in 

Not very long after this, when the people of 
the city were holding a great feast outside the walls of 
the town, a body of Moors, who had been in hiding for 
days, drove off all the sheep and goats which were peace- 
fully feeding on the slopes of a hill. Directly the loss 
was discovered, which was not for some hours, the king 
gave orders that the war drum should be beaten, and 
the warriors assembled in the great square before the 
palace, trembling with fury at the insult which had 
been put upon them. Loud were the cries for instant 
vengeance, and for Samba, son-in-law of the king, to lead 
them to battle. But shout as they might, Samba never 

And where was he ? No further than in a cool, 
dark cellar of the palace, crouching among huge earthen- 
ware pots of grain. With a rush of pain at her heart, 
there his wife found him, and she tried with all her 
strength to kindle in him a sense of shame, but in vain. 
Even the thought of the future danger he might run 
from the contempt of his subjects was as nothing when 
compared with the risks of the present. 

' Take off your tunic of mail,' said the princess at 
last ; and her voice was so stern and cold that none 
would have known it. ' Give it to me, and hand me 
besides your helmet, your sword and your spear.' And 

OL. I 


with many fearful glances to right and to left, Samba 
stripped off the armour inlaid with gold, the property of 
the king's son-in-law. Silently his wife took, one by one, 
the pieces from him, and fastened them on her with firm 
hands, never even glancing at the tall form of her 
husband who had slunk back to his corner. When she 
had fastened the last buckle, and lowered her vizor, she 
went out, and mounting Samba's horse, gave the signal 
to the warriors to follow. 

Now, although the princess was much shorter than 
her husband, she was a tall woman, and the horse which 
she rode was likewise higher than the rest, so that 
when the men caught sight of the gold-inlaid suit of 
chain armour, they did not doubt that Samba was taking 
his rightful place, and cheered him loudly. The princess 
bowed in answer to their greeting, but kept her vizor 
down ; and touching her horse with the spur, she 
galloped at the head of her troops to charge the enemy. 
The Moors, who had not expected to be so quickly 
pursued, had scarcely time to form themselves into battle 
array, and were speedily put to flight. Then the little 
troop of horsemen returned to the city, where all sung 
the praises of Samba their leader. 

The instant they reached the palace the princess 
flung her reins to a groom, and disappeared up a side 
staircase, by which she could, unseen, enter her own 
rooms. Here she found Samba lying idly on a heap of 
mats ; but he raised his head uneasily as the door opened 
and looked at his wife, not feeling sure how she might 
act towards him. However, he need not have been afraid 
of harsh words : she merely unbuttoned her armour as 
fast as possible, and bade him put it on with all speed. 
Samba obeyed, not daring to ask any questions ; and when 
he had finished the princess told him to follow her, and 
led him on to the flat roof of the house, below which a 
crowd had gathered, cheering lustily. 

' Samba, the king's son-in-law ! Samba, the bravest 

Digitized oy Microsoft <& 


of the brave! Where is he? Let him show himself! ' 
And when Samba did show himself the shouts and 
applause became louder than ever. * See how modest 
he is ! He leaves the glory to others ! ' cried they. And 
Samba only smiled and waved his hand, and said 

Out of all the mass of people assembled there to do 
honour to Samba, one alone there was who did not 
shout and praise with the rest. This was the princess's 
youngest brother, whose sharp eyes had noted certain 
things during the fight which recalled his sister much 
more than they did her husband. Under promise of 
secrecy, he told his suspicions to the other princes, but 
only got laughed at, and was bidden to carry his dreams 

* Well, well,' answered the boy, ' we shall see who 
is right ; but the next time we give battle to the Moors 
I will take care to place a private mark on our com- 

In spite of their defeat, not many days after the 
Moors sent a fresh body of troops to steal some cattle, 
and again Samba's wife dressed herself in her husband's 
armour, and rode out at the head of the avenging 
column. This time the combat was fiercer than before, 
and in the thick of it her youngest brother drew near, 
and gave his sister a slight wound on the leg. At the 
moment she paid no heed to the pain, which, indeed, she 
scarcely felt ; but when the enemy had been put to 
flight and the little band returned to the palace, faintness 
suddenly overtook her, and she could hardly stagger up 
the staircase to her own apartments. 

* I am wounded,' she cried, sinking down on the 
mats where he had been lying, ' but do not be anxious ; 
it is really nothing. You have only got to wound your- 
self slightly in the same spot and no one will guess 
that it was I and not you who were fighting.' 

* What! ' cried Samba, his, eyes nearly starting from 



his head in surprise and terror. ( Can you possibly 
imagine that I should agree to anything so useless and 
painful ? Why, I might as well have gone to fight 
myself ! ' 

' Ah, I ought to have known better, indeed/ answered 
the princess, in a voice that seemed to come from a long 
way off; but, quick as thought, the moment Samba 
turned his back she pierced one of his bare legs with 
a spear. 

He gave a loud scream and staggered backwards, 
from astonishment, much more than from pain. But 
before he could speak his wife had left the room and 
had gone to seek the medicine man of the palace. 

1 My husband has been wounded/ said she, when 
she had found him, ' come and tend him with speed, 
for he is faint from loss of blood.' And she took care that 
more than one person heard her words, so that all that 
day the people pressed up to the gate of the palace, 
asking for news of their brave champion. 

' You see,' observed the king's eldest sons, who had 
visited the room where Samba lay groaning, * you see, 
O, wise young brother, that we were right and you were 
wrong about Samba, and that he really did go into the 
battle.' But the boy answered nothing, and only shook his 
head doubtfully. 

It was only two days later that the Moors appeared 
for the third time, and though the herds had been 
tethered in a new and safer place, they were promptly 
carried off as before. ' For/ said the Moors to each 
other, ' the tribe will never think of our coming back so 
soon when they have beaten us so badly.' 

When the drum sounded to assemble all the fighting 
men, the princess rose and sought her husband. 

' Samba/ cried she, ' my wound is worse than I 
thought. I can scarcely walk, and could not mount my 
horse without help. For to-day, then, I cannot do your 
work, so yra)^fte M(g) 


' What nonsense/ exclaimed Samba, ' I never heard 
of such a thing. Why, I might be wounded, or even 
killed ! You have three brothers. The king can choose 
one of them.' 

' They are all too young,' replied his wife ; ' the men 
would not obey them. But if, indeed, you will not go, at 
least you can help me to harness my horse/ And to this 
Samba, who was always ready to do anything he was 
asked when there was no danger about it, agreed 

So the horse was quickly harnessed, and when it was 
done the princess said : 

Now ride the horse to the place of meeting outside 
the gates, and I will join you by a shorter way, and will 
change places with you/ Samba, who loved riding in 
times of peace, mounted as she had told him, and when 
he was safe in the saddle, his wife dealt the horse a 
sharp cut with her whip, and he dashed off through the 
town and through the ranks of the warriors who were 
waiting for him. Instantly the whole place was in 
motion. Samba tried to check his steed, but he might 
as well have sought to stop the wind, and it seemed no 
more than a few minutes before they were grappling 
hand to hand with the Moors. 

Then a miracle happened. Samba the coward, the 
skulker, the terrified, no sooner found himself pressed 
hard, unable to escape, than something sprang into life 
within him, and he fought with all his might. And 
when a man of his size and strength begins to right 
he generally fights well. 

That day the victory was really owing to Samba, 
and the shouts of the people were louder than ever. 
When he returned, bearing with him the sword of the 
Moorish chief, the old king pressed him in his arms and 
said : 

1 Oh, my son, how can I ever show you how grateful 

I am for this splendid service/ 


But Samba, who was good and loyal when fear did 
not possess him, answered straightly : 

'My father, it is to your daughter and not to me 
to whom thanks are due, for it is she who has turned 
the coward that I was into a brave man.' 

[Cvntes Soudainais. Par C. Monteil.] 

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Once there was a king who had two daughters ; and their 
names were Kupti and Irnani. He loved them both 
very much, and spent hours in talking to them, and one 
day he said to Kupti, the elder : 

' Are you satisfied to leave your life and fortune in 
my hands ? ' 

' Verily yes,' answered the princess, surprised at the 
question. ' In whose hands should I leave them, if not 
in yours ? ' 

But when he asked his younger daughter Imani the 
same question, she replied : 

* No, indeed ! If I had the chance I would make my 
own fortune/ 

At this answer the king was very displeased, and 
said : 

1 You are too young to know the meaning of your 
words. But, be it so ; I will give you the chance of 
gratifying your wish.' 

Then he sent for an old lame fakir who lived in a 
tumbledown hut on the outskirts of the city, and when 
he had presented himself, the king said : 

' No doubt as you are very old and nearly crippled, 
you would be glad of some young person to live with 
you and serve you ; so I will send you my younger 
daughter. She wants to earn her living, and she can do 
so with you,' 

Of course the old fakir had not a word to say, or, if 
he had, he was really too astonished and troubled to say 


it ; but the young princess went off with him smiling, 
and tripped along quite gaily, whilst he hobbled home 
with her in perplexed silence. 

Directly they got to the hut the fakir began to think 
what he could arrange for the princess's comfort; but 
after all he was a fakir, and his house was bare except 
for one bedstead, two old cooking pots and an earthen 
jar for water, and one cannot get much comfort out of 
those things. However, the princess soon ended his per- 
plexity by asking : 

' Have you any money ? ' 

' I have a penny somewhere,' replied the fakir. 

'Very well,' rejoined the princess, 'give me the 
penny and go out and borrow me a spinning-wheel and 
a loom. 5 

After much seeking the fakir found the penny and 
started pn his errand, whilst the princess went off 
shopping. First she bought a farthing's worth of oil, 
and then she bought three farthings' worth of flax. 
When she got back with her purchases she set the old 
man on the bedstead and rubbed his crippled leg with 
the oil for an hour. Then she sat down to the spinning- 
wheel and spun and spun all night long whilst the old 
man slept, until, in the morning, she had spun the finest 
thread that ever was seen. Next she went to the loom 
and wove and wove until by the evening she had woven 
a beautiful silver cloth. 

' Now/ said she to the fakir, ' go into the market- 
place and sell my cloth whilst I rest.' 

' And what am I to ask for it ? ' said the old man. 

' Two gold pieces,' replied the princess. 

So the fakir hobbled away, and stood in the market- 
place to sell the cloth. Presently the elder princess 
drove by, and when she saw the cloth she stopped and 
asked the price. 

' Two gold pieces/ said the fakir. And the princess 
gladly paid them, after which the old fakir hobbled 

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home with the money. As she had done before so Imani 
did again day after day. Always she spent a penny 
upon oil and flax, always she tended the old man's lame 
limb, and spun and wove the most beautiful cloths and 
sold them at high prices. Gradually the city became 
famous for her beautiful stuffs, the old fakir's lame leg 

became straighter and stronger, and the hole under the 
floor of the hut where they kept their money became 
fuller and fuller of gold pieces. At last, one day, the 
princess said : 

1 I really think we have got enough to live in greater 
comfort.' And she sent for builders, and they built a 


beautiful house for her and the old fakir, and in all the 
city there was none finer except the king's palace. 
Presently this reached the ears of the king, and when he 
inquired whose it was they told him that it belonged to 
his daughter. 

' Well,' exclaimed the king, ' she said that she would 
make her own fortune, and somehow or other she seems 
to have done it ! ' 

A little while after this, business took the king to 
another country, and before he went he asked his elder 
daughter what she would like him to bring her back as 
a gift. 

1 A necklace of rubies/ answered she. And then the 
king thought he would like to ask Imani too ; so he sent 
a messenger to find out what sort of a present she 
wanted. The man happened to arrive just as she was 
trying to disentangle a knot in her loom, and bowing low 
before her, he said : 

1 The king sends me to inquire what you wish him to 
bring you as a present from the country of Dur?' But 
Imani, who was only considering how she could best 
untie the knot without breaking the thread, replied : 

' Patience ! ' meaning that the messenger should wait 
till she was able to attend to him. But the messenger 
went off with this as an answer, and told the king 
that the only thing the princess Imani wanted was 
' patience.' 

* Oh ! ' said the king, ' I don't know whether that's a 
thing to be bought at Dur ; I never had it myself, but 
if it is to be got I will buy it for her.' 

Next day the king departed on his journey, and when 
his business at Dur was completed he bought for Kupti a 
beautiful ruby necklace. Then he said to a servant : 

' The princess Imani wants some patience. I did 
not know there was such a thing, but you must go to the 
market and inquire, and if any is to be sold, get it and 
bring it to me.' 

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The servant saluted and left the king's presence. 
He walked about the market for some time crying ; * Has 
anyone patience to sell ? patience to sell ? ' And some 
of the people mocked, and some (who had no patience) 
told him to go away and not be a fool ; and some 
said : « The fellow's mad ! As though one could buy or 
sell patience ! ' 

At length it came to the ears of the king of Dur that 
there was a madman in the market trying to buy 
patience. And the king laughed and said : 

* I should like to see that fellow, bring him here ! ' 

And immediately his attendants went to seek the 
man, and brought him to the king, who asked : 

' What is this you want ? ' 

And the man replied : * Sire ! I am bidden to ask for 

1 Oh,' said the king, * you must have a strange master ! 
What does he want with it ? ' 

'My master wants it as a present for his daughter 
Imani,' replied the servant. 

' Well,' said the king, ' I know of some patience 
which the young lady might have if she cares for it ; but 
it is not to be bought.' 

Now the king's name was Subbar Khan, and Subbar 
means l patience ' ; but the messenger did not know that, 
or understand that he was making a joke. However, he 
declared that the princess Imani was not only young and 
beautiful, but also the cleverest, most industrious, and 
kindest-hearted of princesses ; and he would have gone 
on explaining her virtues had not the king laughingly put 
up his hand and stopped him saying : 

' Well, well, wait a minute, and I will see what can 
be done.' 

With that he got up and went to his own apartments 
and took out a little casket. Into the casket he put a 
fan, and shutting it up carefully he brought it to the 
messenger and said : 


1 Here is a casket. It has no lock nor key, and yet 
will open only to the touch of the person who needs its 
contents — and whoever opens it will obtain patience ; 
but I can't tell whether it will be quite the kind of 
patience that is wanted/ And the servant bowed low, 
and took the casket ; but when he asked what was to be 
paid, the king would take nothing. So he w T ent away and 
gave the casket and an account of his adventures to his 

As soon as their father got back to his country Kupti 
and Imani each got the presents he had brought for 
them. Imani was very surprised when the casket was 
brought to her by the hand of a messenger. 

' But,' she said, ' what is this ? I never asked for any- 
thing ! Indeed I had no time, for the messenger ran 
away before I had unravelled my tangle.' 

But the servant declared that the casket was for her, 
so she took it with some curiosity, and brought it to the 
old fakir. The old man tried to open it, but in vain — so 
closely did the lid fit that it seemed to be quite 
immovable, and yet there was no lock, nor bolt, nor 
spring, nor anything apparently by which the casket was 
kept shut. When he was tired of trying he handed the 
casket to the princess, who hardly touched it before it 
opened quite easily, and there lay within a beautiful fan. 
With a cry of surprise and pleasure Imani took out the 
fan, and began to fan herself. 

Hardly had she finished three strokes of the fan 
before there suddenly appeared from nowhere in parti- 
cular, king Subbar Khan of Dur ! The princess gasped 
and rubbed her eyes, and the old fakir sat and gazed in 
such astonishment that for some minutes he could not 
speak. At length he said : 

' Who may you be, fair sir, if you please ? ' 

* My name,' said the king, ' is Subbar Khan of Dur. 
This lady,' bowing to the princess, ' has summoned me, 

and here I am ! 


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1 1 ? ' — stammered the princess — ( I have summoned 
you? I never saw or heard of you. in my life before, so 
how could that be ? ' 

Then the king told them how he had heard of a man 
in his own city of Dur trying to buy patience, and how 
he had given him the fan in the casket. 

' Both are magical,' he added ; * when anyone uses 
the fan, in three strokes of it I am with them ; if they 
fold it and tap it on the table, in three taps I am at 
home again. The casket will not open to all, but you 
see it was this fair lady who asked for patience, and, as 
that is my name, here I am, very much at her service/ 

Now the princess Imam, being of a high spirit, was 
anxious to fold up the fan, and give the three taps which 
would send the king home again ; but the old fakir was 
very pleased with his guest, and so in one way and 
another they spent quite a pleasant evening together 
before Subbar Khan took his leave. 

After that he was often summoned ; and as both the 
fakir and he were very fond of chess and were good 
players, they used to sit up half the night playing, and 
at last a little room in the house began to be called the 
king's room, and whenever he stayed late he used to 
sleep there and go home again in the morning. 

By-and-by it came to the ears of the princess Kupti 
that there was a rich and handsome young man visiting 
at her sister's house, and she was very jealous. So she 
went one day to pay Imani a visit, and pretended to be 
very affectionate, and interested in the house, and in the 
way in which Imani and the old fakir lived, and of their 
mysterious and royal visitor. As the sisters went from 
place to place, Kupti was shown Subbar Khan's room ; 
and presently, making some excuse, she slipped in there 
by herself and swiftly spread under the sheet which 
lay upon the bed a quantity of very finely powdered 
and splintered glass which was poisoned, and which she 
had brought with her concealed in her clothes. Shortly 


afterwards she took leave of her sister, declaring that she 
could never forgive herself for not having corne near her 
all this time, and that she would now begin to make 
amends for her neglect. 

That very evening Subbar Khan came and sat up late 
with the old fakir playing chess as usual. Very tired, 
he at length bade him and the princess good-night 
and, as soon as he lay down on the bed, thousands of 
tiny, tiny splinters of poisoned glass ran into him. He 
could not think what was the matter, and started this 
way and that until he was pricked all over, and he felt as 
though he were burning from head to foot. But he never 
said a word, only he sat up all night in agony of body 
and in worse agony of mind to think that he should have 
been poisoned, as he guessed he was, in Imani's own 
house. In the morning, although he was nearly fainting, 
he still said nothing, and by means of the magic fan was 
duly transported home again. Then he sent for all the 
physicians and doctors in his kingdom, but none could 
make out what his illness was ; and so he lingered on for 
weeks and weeks trying every remedy that anyone could 
devise, and passing sleepless nights and days of pain and 
fever and misery, until at last he was at the point of 

Meanwhile the princess Imani and the old fakir 
were much troubled because, although they waved the 
magic fan again and again, no Subbar Khan appeared, 
and they feared that he had tired of them, or that some 
evil fate had overtaken him. At last the princess was in 
such a miserable state of doubt and uncertainty that she 
determined to go herself to the kingdom of Dur and see 
what was the matter. Disguising herself in man's clothes 
as a young fakir, she set out upon her journey alone and 
on foot, as a fakir should travel. One evening she found 
herself in a forest, and lay down under a great tree to 
pass the night. But she could not sleep for thinking of 
Subbar Khan, and wondering what had happened to him. 

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Presently she heard two great monkeys talking to one 
another in the tree above her head. 

' Good evening, brother/ said one, ' whence come 
you — and what is the news ? ' 


' I come from Dur,' said the other, ' and the news is 
that the king is dying/ 

' Oh,' said the first, ' I'm sorry to hear that, for he is 
a master hand at slaying leopards and creatures that 


ought not to be allowed to live. What is the matter 
with him ? ' 

' No man knows/ replied the second monkey, ' but 
the birds, who see all and carry all messages, say that he 
is dying of poisoned glass that Kupti the king's daughter 
spread upon his bed.' 

' Ah I' said the first monkey, ' that is sad news ; but if 
they only knew it, the berries of the very tree we sit in, 
steeped in hot water, will cure such a disease as that in 
three days at most.' 

' True 1 ' said the other, ' it's a pity that we can't tell 
some man of a medicine so simple, and so save a good 
man's life. But men are so silly ; they go and shut 
themselves up in stuffy houses in stuffy cities instead of 
living in nice airy trees, and so they miss knowing all the 
best things.' 

Now when Imani heard that Subbar Khan was dying 
she began to weep silently ; but as she listened she dried 
her tears and sat up ; and as soon as daylight dawned 
over the forest she began to gather the berries from the 
tree until she had filled her cloth with a load of them. 
Then she walked on as fast as she could, and in two 
days reached the city of Dur. The first thing she did 
was to pass through the market crying : 

' Medicine for sale ! Are any ill that need my medi- 
cine ? ' And presently one man said to his neighbour : 

' See, there is a young fakir with medicine for sale, 
perhaps he could do something for the king.' 

' Pooh ! ' replied the other, { where so many grey- 
beards have failed, how should a lad like that be of any 
use ? ' 

' Still,' said the first, 'he might try.' And he went up 
and spoke to Imani, and together they set out for the 
palace and announced that another doctor was come to 
try and cure the king. 

After some delay Imani was admitted to the sick 
room, and, whilst she was so well disguised that the king 


did not recognise her, lie was so wasted by illness that 
she hardly knew him. But she began at once, full of 
hope, by asking for some apartments all to herself and 
a pot in which to boil water. As soon as the water was 
heated she steeped some of her berries in it and gave 
the mixture to the king's attendants and told them to 
wash his body with it. The first washing did so 
much good that the king slept quietly all the night. 
Again the second day she did the same, and this time 
the king declared he was hungry, and called for food. 
After the third day he was quite well, only very weak 
from his long illness. On the fourth day he got up and 
sat upon his throne, and then sent messengers to fetch 
the physician who had cured him. When Imani 
appeared everyone marvelled that so young a man 
should be so clever a doctor ; and the king wanted to give 
him immense presents of money and of all kinds of 
precious things. At first Imani would take nothing, but 
at last she said that, if she must be rewarded, she would 
ask for the king's signet ring and his handkerchief. So, 
as she would take nothing more, the king gave her 
his signet ring and his handkerchief, and she departed 
and travelled back to her own country as fast as she 

A little while after her return, when she had related 
to the fakir all her adventures, they sent for Subbar 
Khan by means of the magic fan ; and when he appeared 
they asked him why he had stayed away for so long. 
Then he told them all about his illness, and how he had 
been cured, and when he had finished the princess rose 
up and, opening a cabinet, brought out the ring and 
handkerchief, and said, laughing : 

1 Are these the rewards you gave to your doctor? * 
At that the king looked, and he recognised her, and 
understood in a moment all that had happened ; and he 
jumped up and put the magic fan in his pocket, and 

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declared that no one should send him away to his own 
country any more unless Imani would come with him 
and be his wife. And so it was settled, and the old fakir 
and Imani went to the city of Dur, where Imani was 
married to the king and lived happily ever after. 

[Punjabi story J 

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Once upon a time there lived a woman who had a pretty 
cottage and garden right in the middle of a forest. All 
through the summer she was quite happy tending her 
flowers and listening to the birds singing in the trees, 
but in the winter, when snow lay on the ground and 
wolves came howling about the door, she felt very lonely 
and frightened. ' If I only had a child to speak to, 
however small, what a comfort it would be ! ' she said to 
herself. And the heavier the snow fell the oftener she 
repeated the words. And at last a day arrived when she 
could bear the silence and solitude no longer, and set off 
to walk to the nearest village to beg someone to sell her 
or lend her a child. 

The snow was very deep, and reached above her 
ankles, and it took her almost an hour to go a few 
hundred yards. 

1 It will be dark at this rate before I get to the first 
house,' thought she, and stopped to look about her. 
Suddenly a little woman in a high-crowned hat stepped 
from behind a tree in front of her. 

' This is a bad day for walking ! Are you going far ? ! 
inquired the little woman. 

'Well, I want to go to the village ; but I don't see 
how I am ever to get there,' answered the other. 

' And may I ask what important business takes you 
there ? ' asked the little woman, who was really a witch. 

k 2 


' My house is so dreary, with no one to speak to ; I 
cannot stay in it alone, and I am seeking for a child — 
I don't mind how small she is — who will keep me 

1 Oh, if that is all, you need go no further/ replied the 
witch, putting her hand in her pocket. ' Look, here is 
a barley corn, as a favour you shall have it for twelve 
shillings, and if you plant it in a flower-pot, and give it 
plenty of water, in a few days you will see something 

This promise raised the woman's spirits. She gladly 
paid down the price, and as soon as she returned home 
she dug a hole in a flower-pot and put in the seed. 

For three days she waited, hardly taking her eyes 
from the flower-pot in its warm corner, and on the third 
morning she saw that, while she was asleep, a tall red 
tulip had shot up, sheathed in green leaves. 

' What a beautiful blossom/ cried the woman, stooping 
to kiss it, when, as she did so, the red petals burst asunder, 
and in the midst of them was a lovely little girl only an 
inch high. This tiny little creature was seated on a 
mattress of violets, and covered with a quilt of rose 
leaves, and she opened her eyes and smiled at the woman 
as if she had known her all her life. 

* Oh ! you darling ; I shall never be lonely any 
more ! ' she exclaimed in rapture ; and the baby nodded 
her head as much as to say : 

* No, of course you won't ! ' 

The woman lost no time in seeking for a roomy 
walnut-shell, which she lined thickly with white satin, 
and on it she placed the mattress, with the child, whom 
she called Maia, upon it. This was her bed, and stood 
on a chair close to where her foster-mother was sleeping ; 
but in the moiling she was lifted out, and placed on a 
leaf in the middle of a large bowl of water, and given 
two white horse-hairs to row herself about with. She 
was the happiest baby that ever was seen, and passed 


the whole day singing to herself, in a language of her 
own, that nobody else could understand. 

For some weeks the two lived together and never 
grew tired of each other's society, and then a terrible 
misfortune happened. One night, when the foster-mother 
lay sound asleep after a hard day's work, a big, ugly, wet 
frog hopped in through the open window and stood 
staring at Maia under her quilt of rose leaves. 

'Dear me ! that is quite a pretty little girl,' thought 
the frog to herself ; ' she would make a nice wife for 
my son.' And picking up the walnut cradle in her mouth, 
she hopped with it to the edge of a stream which ran 
through the garden. 

' Gome and see what I have brought you/ called the 
old frog, when she reached her home in the mud. 

' Croak ! croak ! croak ! ' uttered the son, gazing with 
pleasure at the sleeping child. 

' Hush ; don't make such a noise or you will wake 
her! ' whispered the mother. 'I mean her to be a wife 
for you, and while we are preparing for the wedding we 
will set her on that water-lily leaf in the middle of the 
brook, so that she may not be able to run away from 

It was on this green floating prison that Maia awoke, 
frightened and puzzled, with the first rays of the sun. 
She stood up straight on the leaf, looking about her 
for a way of escape, and, finding none, she sat down again 
and began to weep bitterly. At length her sobs were 
heard by the old frog, who was busy in her house at the 
bottom of the marsh, twisting rushes into a soft carpet 
for Maia's feet, and twining reeds and grapes over the 
doorway, to make it look pretty for the bride. 

' Ah ! the poor child feels lost and unhappy/ she 
thought pitifully, for her heart was kind. ' Well, I have 
just done, and then my son and I will go to fetch her. 
When she sees how handsome he is she will be all 


smiles again.' And in a few minutes they both appeared 
beside the leaf. 

' This is your future husband. Did you ever see any- 
one like him ? ' asked the proud mother, pushing him 
forward. But, after one glance, Maia only cried the 
more ; and the little fishes who lived in the stream came 
swimming round to see what was the matter. 

' It is absurd that such a pretty creature should be 
forced to take a husband whom she does not want/ said 
they to each other. ' And such an ugly one too ! How- 
ever, we can easily prevent it.' And by turns they 
gnawed the stem of the lily-leaf close to the root, till at 
length it was free, and taking it in their mouths they 
bore Maia far away, till the little stream grew into a 
great river. 

Oh, how Maia enjoyed that voyage, when once she 
became quite certain that the frogs could no longer reach 
her. Past many towns she went, and the people on the 
banks all turned to look at her, and exclaimed : 

' What a lovely little girl ! Where can she have come 
from ? ' 

' What a lovely little girl ! ' twittered the birds in the 
bushes. And a blue butterfly fell in love with her, and 
would not leave her ; so she took off her sash, which just 
matched him, and tied it round his body, so that with 
this new kind of horse she travelled much faster than 

Unluckily, a great cockchafer, who was buzzing over 
the river, happened to catch sight of her, and caught 
her up in his claws. The poor butterfly was terribly 
frightened at the sight of him, and he struggled hard to 
free himself, so that the sash bow gave way, and he flew 
off into the sunshine. But Maia wasn't so fortunate, 
and though the cockchafer collected honey from the 
flowers for her dinner, and told her several times how 
pretty she was, she could not feel at ease with him. 
The cockchafer noticed this, and summoned his sisters 


to play with her ; but they only stared rudely, and 
said : 

' Where did you pick up that strange object ? She 
is very ugly to be sure, but one ought to pity her for she 
has only two legs/ 

1 Yes, and no feelers,' added another ; ' and she is so 
thin ! Well, our brother has certainly very odd taste ! ' 

' Indeed he has ! ' echoed the others. And they 
repeated it so loud and so often that, in the end, he 
believed it too, and snatching her up from the tree where 


he had placed her, set her down upon a daisy which 
grew near the ground. 

Here Maia stayed for the whole summer, and really 
was not at all unhappy. She ventured to walk about by 
herself, and wove herself a bed of some blades of grass, 
and placed it under a clover leaf for shelter. The red 
cups that grew in the moss held as much dew as she 
wanted, and the cockchafer had taught her how to get 
honey. But summer does not last for ever, and by-and- 


by the flowers withered, and instead of dew there was 
snow and ice. Maia did not know what to do, for her 
clothes were worn to rags, and though she tried to roll 
herself up in a dry leaf it broke under her fingers. It 
soon was plain to her that if she did not get some other 
shelter she would die of hunger and cold. 

So, gathering up all her courage, she left the forest 
and crossed the road into what had been, in the summer, 
a beautiful field of waving corn, but was now only a 
mass of hard stalks. She wandered on, seeing nothing but 
the sky above her head, till she suddenly found herself 
close to an opening which seemed to lead underground. 

1 It will be warm, at any rate/ thought Maia, ' and 
perhaps the person who lives there will give me 
something to eat. At any rate, I can't be worse off than 
I am now.' And she walked boldly down the passage. 
By-and-by she came to a door which stood ajar, and, 
peeping in, discovered a whole room full of corn. This 
gave her heart, and she went on more swiftly, till she 
reached a kitchen where an old field-mouse was baking 
a cake. 

' You poor little animal,' cried the mouse, who had 
never seen anything like her before, ' you look starved to 
death ! Come and sit here and get warm, and share my 
dinner with me.' 

Maia almost wept with joy at the old mouse's kind 
words. She needed no second bidding, but ate more 
than she had ever done in her life, though it was not a 
breakfast for a humming-bird ! When she had quite 
finished she put out her hand and smiled, and the old 
mouse said to her : 

1 Can you tell stories ? If so you may stay with me 
till the sun gets hot again, and you shall help me with 
my house. But it is dull here in the winter unless you 
have somebody clever enough to amuse you.' 

Yes, Maia had learned a great many stories from her 
foster-mother, and, besides, there were all her own 

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adventures, and her escapes from death. She knew also 
how a room should be swept, and never failed to get up 
early in the morning and have everything clean and tidy 
for the old mouse. 

So the winter passed away pleasantly, and Maia 
began to talk of the spring, and of the time when she 
would have to go out into the world again and seek her 

' Oh, you need not begin to think of that for a while 
yet,' answered the field-mouse. ' Up on the earth they 
have a proverb : 

When the day lengthens 

Then the cold strengthens ; 

it has been quite warm up to now, and the snow may 
fall any time. Never a winter goes by without it, 
and then you will be very thankful you are here, and 
not outside ! But I dare say it is quiet for a young thing 
like you,' she added, ' and I have invited my neighbour 
the mole to come and pay us a visit. He has been 
asleep all these months, but I hear he is waking up 
again. You would be a lucky girl if he took into his head 
to marry you, only, unfortunately, he is blind, and cannot 
see how pretty you are/ And for this blindness Maia 
felt truly glad, as she did not want a mole for a husband. 
However, by-and-by he paid his promised visit, and 
Maia did not like him at all. He might be as rich and 
learned as possible, but he hated the sun, and the trees, 
and the flowers, and all that Maia loved best. To be 
sure, being blind, he had never seen them, and, like 
many other people, he thought that anything he did not 
know was not worth knowing. But Maia's tales amused 
him, though he would not for the world have let her see 
it, and he admired her voice when she sang : 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, 
How does your garden grow ? 

Hush-a-bye, baby, on the tree top ; 


though he told her that it was all nonsense, and that 
trees and gardens were mere foolishness. When she 
was his wife he would teach her things better worth 

'Meanwhile,' he said, with a grand air, 'I have 
burrowed a passage from this house to my own, in 
which you can walk ; but I warn you not to be frightened 
at a great dead creature that has fallen through a hole 
in the roof, and is lying on one side.' 

' What sort of creature is it ? * asked Maia eagerly. 

1 Oh, I really can't tell you/ answered the mole, in- 
differently ; ' it is covered with something soft, and it has 
two thin legs, and a long sharp thing sticking out of its 

' It is a bird,' cried Maia joyfully, ' and I love birds ! 
It must have died of cold,' she added, dropping her 
voice. * Oh ! good Mr. Mole, do take me to see it ! ' 

' Come then, as I am going home,' replied the mole. 
And calling to the old field-mouse to accompany them, 
they all set out. 

1 Here it is/ said the mole at last; 'dear me, how 
thankful I am Fate did not make me a bird. They can't 
say anything but "twit, twit," and die with the first 
breath of cold.' 

' Ah, yes, poor useless creature/ answered the field- 
mouse. But while they were talking, Maia crept round 
to the other side and stroked the feathers of the little 
swallow, and kissed his eyes. 

All that night she lay awake, thinking of the swallow 
lying dead in the passage. At length she could bear it 
no longer, and stole away to the place where the hay 
was kept, and wove a thick carpet. Next she went to 
the field-mouse's store of cotton, which she picked in the 
summer from some of the marsh flowers, and carrying 
them both down the passage, she tucked the cotton 
underneath the bird and spread the hay quilt over him. 

' Perhaps you were one of the swallows who sang to 


me in the summer/ said she. ' I wish I could have 
brought you to life again ; but now, good-bye ! ' And 
she laid her face, wet with tears, on the breast of the 
bird. Surely she felt a faint movement against her 
cheek ? Yes, there it was again ! Suppose the bird 
was not dead after all, but only senseless with cold and 
hunger ! And at this thought Maia hastened back to the 
house, and brought some grains of corn, and a drop of 
water in a leaf. This she held close to the swallow's 
beak, which he opened unconsciously, and when he 
had sipped the water she gave him the grains one by 

' Make no noise, so that no one may guess you are 
not dead,' said she. ' To-night I will bring you some 
more food, and I will tell the mole that he must stuff up 
the hole again, as it makes the passage too cold for me 
to walk in. And now farewell.' And off she went, back 
to the field-mouse, who was sound asleep. 

After some days of Maia's careful nursing, the swallow 
felt strong enough to talk, and he told Maia how he came 
to be in the place where she found him. Before he was 
big enough to fly very high he had torn his wing in 
a rose-bush, so that he could not keep up with his family 
and friends when they took their departure to warmer 
lands. In their swift course they never noticed that 
their little brother was not with them, and at last he 
dropped on the ground from sheer fatigue, and must 
have rolled down the hole into the passage. 

It was very lucky for the swallow that both the mole 
and the field-mouse thought he was dead, and did not 
trouble about him, so that when the spring really came, 
and the sun was hot, and blue hyacinths grew in the 
woods and primroses in the hedges, he was as tall and 
strong as any of his companions. 

' You have saved my life, dear little Maia,' said he ; 
' but now the time has come for me to leave you — 


unless,' he added, ' you will let me carry you on my back 
far away from this gloomy prison.' 

Maia's eyes sparkled at the thought, but she shook 
her head bravely. 

' Yes, you must go ; but I must stay behind,' she 
answered. ' The field-mouse has been good to me, and 
I cannot desert her like that. Do you think you can 
open the hole for yourself ? ' she asked anxiously. l If 
so, you had better begin now, for this evening we are to 
have supper with the mole, and it would never do for 
my foster-mother to find you working at it.' 

' That is true,' answered the swallow. And flying up 
to the roof — which, after all, was not very high above 
them — he set to work with his bill, and soon let a flood 
of sunshine into the dark place. 

'Worit you come with me, Maia?' said he. And 
though her heart longed for the trees and the flowers, 
she answered as before : 

' No, I cannot.' 

That one glimpse of the sun was all Maia had for 
some time, for the corn sprung up so thickly over the 
hole and about the house, that there might almost as 
well have been no sun at all. However, though she 
missed her bird friend every moment, she had no leisure 
to be idle, for the field-mouse had told her that very 
soon she was to be married to the mole, and kept her 
spinning wool and cotton for her outfit. And as she had 
never in her life made a dress, four clever spiders were 
persuaded to spend the days underground, turning the 
wool and cotton into tiny garments. Maia liked the 
clothes, but hated the thought of the blind mole, only 
she did not know how to escape him. In the evenings, 
when the spiders were going to their homes for the 
night, she would walk with them to the door and wait 
till a puff of wind blew the corn ears apart, and she 
could see the sky. 

' If the swallow would only come now,' she said to 


herself, ' I would go with him to the end of the world/ 
But he never came ! 

' Your outfit is all finished/ said the field-mouse one 
day when the berries were red and the leaves yellow, 
* and the mole and I have decided that your wedding shall 
be in four weeks' time.' 

' Oh, not so soon ! not so soon ! ' cried Maia, bursting 
into tears ; which made the field-mouse very angry, and 

declare that Maia had no more sense than other girls, 
and did not know what was good for her. Then the 
mole arrived, and carried her on his back to see the new 
house he had dug for her, which was so very far under 
ground that Maia's tiny legs could never bring her up 
even as high as the field-mouse's dwelling, from which 
she might see the sunlight. Her heart grew heavier and 
heavier as the days w r ent by, and in the last evening of 


all she crept out into the field among the stubble, to 
-watch the sun set before she bade it good-bye for ever. 

' Farewell, farewell/ she said, ' and farewell to rny 
little swallow. Ah ! if he only knew, he would come to 
help me.' 

' TSvit ! twit,' cried a voice just above her ; and, the 
swallow fluttered to the ground beside her. ' You look 

sad ; are you really going to let that ugly mole marry 

' I shall soon die, that is one comfort,' she answered 
weeping. But the swallow only said : 

' Tut ! tut ! get on my back, as I told you before, 
and I will take you to a land where the sun always 
shines, and you will soon forget that such a creature as 
a mole eve^jjflj^ by M i crosofn 


( Yes, I will come,' said Maia. 

Then the swallow tore off one of the corn stalks with 
his strong beak, and bade her tie it safely to his wing. 
And they started off, flying, flying south for many a day. 

Oh ! how happy Maia was to see the beautiful earth 
again I A hundred times she longed for the swallow to 
stop, but he always told her that the best was yet to be ; 
and they flew on and on, only halting for short rests, till 
they reached a place covered with tall white marble 
pillars, some standing high, wreathed in vines, out of 
which endless swallows' heads were peeping ; others 
lying stretched among the flowers, white, yellow, and blue. 

'I live up there,' said the swallow, pointing to the 
tallest of the pillars. ' But such a house would never do 
for you, as you would only fall out of it and kill yourself. 
So choose one of those flowers below, and you shall have 
it for your own, and sleep all night curled up in its leaves.' 

' I will have that one/ answered Maia, pointing to a 
white flower shaped like a star, with a tiny crinkled 
wreath of red and yellow in its centre, and a long stem 
that swayed in the wind ; ' that one is the prettiest of all, 
and it smells so sweet.' Then the swallow flew down 
towards it ; but as they drew near they saw a tiny little 
manikin with a crown on his head, and wings on his 
shoulders, balancing himself on one of the leaves. ' Ah, 
that is the king of the flower-spirits,' whispered the 
swallow. And the king stretched out his hands to Maia, 
and helped her to jump from the swallow's back. 

' I have waited for you for a long while,' said he, ' and 
now you have come at last to be my queen.' 

And Maia smiled, and stood beside him as all the 
fairies that dwelt in the flowers ran to fetch presents for 
her ; and the best of them all was a pair of lovely gauzy 
blue wings to help fly about like one of themselves. 

So instead of marrying the mole, Little Maia was 
crowned a queen, and the fairies danced round her in a 
ring, while the swallow sang the wedding song. 


In a village in Hindustan there once lived a merchant 
who, although he rose early, worked hard, and rested late, 
remained very poor ; and ill-luck so dogged him that he 
determined at last to go to some distant country and 
there to try his fortune. Twelve years passed by ; his 
luck had turned, and now he had gathered great wealth, 
so that having plenty to keep him in comfort for the 
rest of his days, he thought once more of his native 
village, where he desired to spend the remainder of his 
life among his own people. In order to carry his riches 
with him in safety over the many weary miles that lay 
between him and his home, he bought some magnificent 
jewels, which he locked up in a little box and wore con- 
cealed upon his person ; and, so as not to draw the 
attention of the thieves who infested the highways and 
made their living by robbing travellers, he started off in 
the poor clothes of a man who has nothing to lose. 

Thus prepared, he travelled quickly, and within a few 
days' journey from his own village came to a city where 
he determined to buy better garments and — now that he 
was no longer afraid of thieves — to look more like the rich 
man he had become. In his new raiment he approached 
the city, and near the great gate he found a bazaar where, 
amongst many shops filled with costly silks, and carpets, 
and goods of all countries, was one finer than all the rest. 
There, amidst his goods, spread out to the best advantage, 
sat the owner smoking a long silver pipe, and thither the 
merchant bent his steps, and, saluting the., owner politely. 


sat down also and began to make some purchases. Now, 
the proprietor of the shop, Beeka Mull by name, was a 
very shrewd man, and as he and the merchant conversed, 
he soon felt sure that his customer was richer than he 
seemed, and was trying to conceal the fact. Certain 
purchases having been made, he invited the new-comer 
to refresh himself, and in a short time they were chatting 
pleasantly together. In the course of the conversation 
Beeka Mull asked the merchant whither he was travel- 
ling, and hearing the name of the village, he observed : 

' Ah, you had better be careful on that road — it's a very 
bad place for thieves/ 

The merchant turned pale at these words. It would 
be such a bitter thing, he thought, just at the end of his 
journey to be robbed of all the fortune he had heaped up 
with such care. But this bland and prosperous Beeka 
Mull must surely know best, so presently he said : 

' Lala-ji, 1 could you oblige me by locking up for me a 
small box for a short while ? When once I get to my 
village I could bring back half-a-dozen sturdy men of my 
own kinsfolk and claim it again/ 

The Lala shook his head. 'I could not do it/ replied 
he. ' I am sorry; but such things are nofc my business. 
I should be afraid to undertake it/ 

' But,' pleaded the merchant, ' I know no one in this 
city, and you must surely have some place where you 
keep your own precious things. Do this, I pray you, as 
a great favour/ 

Still Beeka Mull politely but firmly refused ; but the 
merchant, feeling that he had now betrayed the fact that 
he was richer than he seemed, and being loth to make 
more people aware of it by inquiring elsewhere, con- 
tinued to press him, until at last he consented. The 
merchant produced the little box of jewels, and Beeka 
Mull locked it up for him in a strong chest with other 

1 ' Lala ' is a complimentary title : ' ji ' a polite affix ; the ex- 
pression is somewhat equivalent to * Dear Sir.' 

OL. L 


precious stones ; and so, with many promises and compli- 
ments, they parted. 

In a place like an Eastern bazaar, where the shops 
lie with wide open fronts, and with their goods displayed 
not only within but without on terraces and verandahs 
raised a few feet above the public roadway, such a long 
talk as that between Beeka Mull and the merchant could 
not but attract some attention from the other shop-keepers 
in the narrow street. If the merchant had but known it, 
nearly every shop-owner in that district was a thief, and 
the cleverest and biggest of all was Beeka Mull. But he 
did not know it, only he could not help feeling a little 
uneasy at having thus parted with all his wealth to a 
stranger. And so, as he wandered down the street, mak- 
ing a purchase here and there, he managed in one way 
and another to ask some questions about the honesty of 
Beeka Mull, and each rascal whom he spoke to, knowing 
that there was some good reason in the question, and 
hoping to get in return some share of the srjoils, replied 
in praise of Beeka Mull as a model of all the virtues. 

In this way the merchant's fears were stilled, and, 
with a comparatively light heart, he travelled on to his 
village ; and within a week or so returned to the city 
with half-a-dozen sturdy young nephews and friends 
whom he had enlisted to help him carry home his 
precious box. 

At the great market-place in the centre of the city 
the merchant left his friends, saying that he would go 
and get the box of jewels and rejoin them, to which they 
consented, and away he went. Arrived at the shop of 
Beeka Mull, he went up and saluted him. 

' Good-day, Lala-ji,' said he. But the Lala pretended 
not to see him. So he repeated the salutation. ' What 
do you want ? ' snapped Beeka Mull ; ' you've said your 
" good-day" twice, why don't you tell me your 
business ? ' 

' Don't you remember me? ' asked the merchant. 


' Kemember you ? ' growled the other ; * no, why 
should I? I have plenty to do to remember good 
customers without trying to remember every beggar who 
comes whining for charity.' 

When he heard this the merchant began to tremble. 

' Lala-ji ! ' he cried, ' surely you remember me and 
the little box I gave you to take care of? And you 
promised — yes, indeed, you promised very kindly — that I 
might return to claim it, and ' 

' You scoundrel/ roared Beeka Mull, ' get out of my 
shop ! Be off with you, you impudent scamp ! Every 
one knows that I never keep treasures for anyone ; I have 
trouble enough to do to keep my own ! Come, off with 
you ! ' With that he began to push the merchant out 
of the shop ; and, when the poor man resisted, two of 
the bystanders came to Beeka Mull's help, and flung the 
merchant out into the road, like a bale of goods dropped 
from a camel. Slowly he picked himself up out of the 
dust, bruised, battered, and bleeding, but feeling nothing 
of the pain in his body, nothing but a dreadful numbing 
sensation that, after all, he was ruined and lost ! Slowly 
he dragged himself a little further from where the fat and 
furious Beeka Mull still stood amongst his disordered 
silks and carpets, and coming to a friendly wall he 
crouched and leant against it, and putting his head into 
his hands gave himself up to an agony of misery and 

There he sat motionless, like one turned to stone, 
whilst darkness fell around him ; and when, about eleven 
o'clock that night, a certain gay young fellow named 
Kooshy Earn passed by with a friend, he saw the merchant 
sitting hunched against the wall, and remarked : * A thief, 
no doubt.' * You are wrong,' returned the other, * thieves 
don't sit in full view of people like that, even at night.' 
And so the two passed on, and thought no more of him. 
About five o'clock next morning Kooshy Earn was 
returning home again, when, to his astonishment, he saw 


the miserable merchant still sitting as he had seen him 
sit hours before. Surely something must be the matter 
with a man who sat all night in the open street, and 
Kooshy Earn resolved to see what it was ; so he went 
up and shook the merchant gently by the shoulder. 
1 Who are you ? ' asked he — ' and what are you doing 
here — are you ill ? ' 

' 111 ? ' said the merchant in a hollow voice, ' yes ; ill 
with a sickness for which there is no medicine/ 

' Oh, nonsense ! ' cried Kooshy Earn. ' Come along with 
me, I know a medicine that will cure you, I think.' So 
the young man seized the merchant by the arm, and 
hoisting him to his feet, dragged him to his own lodging ; 
where he first of all gave him a large glass of wine, and 
then, after he had refreshed him with food, bade him tell 
his adventures. 

Meanwhile the merchant's companions in the market- 
place, being dull-witted persons, thought that as he did 
not return he must have gone home by himself ; and as 
soon as they were tired of waiting they went back to 
their village and left him to look after his own affairs. 
He would therefore have fared badly had it not been for 
his rescuer, Kooshy Earn, who, whilst still a boy, had 
been left a great deal of money with no one to advise 
him how to spend it. He was high-spirited, kind-hearted, 
and shrewd into the bargain ; but he threw away his 
money like water, and generally upon the nearest thing 
or person in his way, and that, alas ! most often was 
himself ! Now, however, he had taken it into his head to 
befriend this miserable merchant, and he meant to do it ; 
and on his side the merchant felt confidence revive, and 
without further ado told all that had happened. 

Kooshy Earn laughed heartily at the idea of any 
stranger entrusting his wealth to Beeka Mull. 

' Why, he is the greatest rascal in the city,' he cried, 
' unless you believe what some of them say of me ! 


Well, there is nothing to be done for the present, but 
just to stay here quietly, and I think that at the end of a 
short time I shall find a medicine which will heal your 
sickness.' At this the merchant again took courage, and 
a little ease crept into his heart as he gratefully accepted 
his new friend's invitation. 

A few days later Kooshy Earn sent for some friends 
to see him, and talked with them long, and, although the 
merchant did not hear the conversation, he did hear 
shouts of laughter as though at some good joke ; but the 
laughter echoed dully in his own heart, for the more he 
considered the more he despaired of ever recovering his 
fortune from the grasp of Beeka Mull, 

One day, soon after this, Kooshy Earn came to him 
and said : 

' You remember the wall where I found you that 
night, near Beeka Mull's shop ? ' 

' Yes, indeed I do,' answered the merchant. 

* Well,' continued Kooshy Earn, * this afternoon you 
must go and stand in that same spot and watch ; and 
when someone gives you a signal, you must go up to 
Beeka Mull and salute him and say, " Oh, Lala-ji, will 
you kindly let me have back that box of mine which you 
have on trust ? " ' 

1 What's the use of that ? ' asked the merchant. ' He 
won't do it any more now than he would when I asked 
him before.' 

' Never mind ! ' replied Kooshy Earn, ' do exactly 
what I tell you, and repeat exactly what I say, word for 
word, and I will answer for the rest,' 

So, that afternoon, the merchant at a certain time 
went and stood by the wall as he was told. He noticed 
that Beeka Mull saw him, but neither took any heed of 
the other. Presently up the bazaar came a gorgeous 
palanquin like those in which ladies of rank are carried 
about. It was borne by four bearers well dressed in rich 
liveries, and its curtains and trappings were truly magni- 


ficent. In attendance was a grave-looking personage 
whom the merchant recognised as one of the friends who 
visited Kooshy Earn ; and behind him came a servant 
with a box covered with a cloth upon his head. 

The palanquin was borne along at a smart pace and 
was set down at Beeka Mull's shop. The fat shop-keeper 
was on his feet at once, and bowed deeply as the gentle- 
man in attendance advanced. 

' May I inquire/ he said, ' who this is in the palanquin 
that deigns to favour my humble shop with a visit? And 
what may I do for her ? ' 

The gentleman, after whispering at the curtain of the 
palanquin, explained that this was a relative of his who 
was travelling, but as her husband could go no further 
with her, she desired to leave with Beeka Mull a box of 
jewels for safe custody. Lala bowed again to the ground. 
' It was not,' he said, ' quite in his way of business ; but of 
course, if he could please the lady, he would be most 
happy, and would guard the box with his life.' Then the 
servant carrying the box was called up ; the box was 
unlocked, and a mass of jewellery laid open to the gaze 
of the enraptured Lala, whose mouth watered as he 
turned over the rich gems. 

All this the merchant had watched from the distance, 
and now he saw — could he be mistaken? — no, he dis- 
tinctly saw a hand beckoning through the curtain on 
that side of the palanquin away from the shop. ' The 
signal ! Was this the signal ? ' thought he. The hand 
beckoned again, impatiently it seemed to him. So 
forward he went, very quietly, and saluting Beeka Mull, 
who was sitting turning over the contents of this amazing 
box of jewels which fortune and some fools were putting 
into his care, he said : 

' Oh, Lala-ji, will you kindly let me have back that 
box of mine which you have on trust ? ' 

The Lala looked up as though he had been stung ; 
but quickly the thought flashed through his mind that 


if this man began making a fuss again he would lose the 
confidence of these new and richer customers ; so he 
controlled himself, and answered : 

* Dear me, of course, yes ! I had forgotten all about 
it.' And he went off and brought the little box and put it 
into the merchant's trembling hands. Quickly the latter 
pulled out the key, which hung by a string round his 
neck, and opened the box ; and when he saw that his 
treasures were all there he rushed into the road, and, 
with the box under his arm, began dancing like a 
madman, with great shouts and screams of laughter. 
Just then a messenger came running up and, saluting 
the gentleman attending the palanquin, he said : 

1 The lady's husband has returned, and is prepared 
to travel with her, so that there is no necessity to deposit 
the jewels.' Whereat the gentleman quickly closed and 
re-locked the box, and handed it back to the waiting 
servant. Then from the palanquin came a yell of laughter, 
and out jumped — not a lady — but Kooshy Earn, who 
immediately ran and joined the merchant in the middle 
of the road and danced as madly as he. Beeka Mull 
stood and stared stupidly at them ; then, with a shrill 
cackle of laughter, he flung off his turban, bounced out 
into the road with the other two, and fell to dancing and 
snapping his fingers until he was out of breath. 

1 Lala-ji,' said the gentleman who had played the 
part of the relative attendant on the palanquin, * why do 
you dance? The merchant dances because he has 
recovered his fortune ; Kooshy Earn dances because he 
is a madman and has tricked you ; but why do you, 
dance ? ' 

' I dance,' panted Beeka Earn, glaring at him with 
a bloodshot eye, ' I dance because I knew thirteen 
different ways of deceiving people by pretending con- 
fidence in them. I didn't know there were any more» 
and now here's a fourteenth ! That's why I dance ! ' 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 

[Punjabi story, Major Campbell, Feroshepore.] 


There lived once a king and queen who had an only 
daughter, a charming and beautiful girl, dearer to them 
than anything else in the world. When the princess 
was twelve years old the queen fell sick, and nothing 
that could be done for her was of any use. All the 
doctors in the kingdom did their best to cure her, but in 
spite of their efforts she grew worse and worse. As she 
was about to die, she sent for the king and said to him : 

' Promise me that whatever our daughter asks, you 
will do, no matter whether you wish to or not.' 

The king at first hesitated, but as she added : 

c Unless you promise this I cannot die in peace/ he 
at length did as she desired, and gave the promise, after 
which she became quite happy and died. 

It happened that near the king s palace lived a noble 
lady, whose little girl was of about the same age as the 
princess, and the two children were always together. 
After the queen's death the princess begged that this lady 
should come to live with her in the palace. The king 
was not quite pleased with this arrangement, for he 
distrusted the lady ; but the princess wished so much for 
it that he did not like to refuse. 

( 1 am lonely, father,' she said, ' and all the beautiful 
presents you give me cannot make up to me for the loss 
of my mother. If this lady comes to live here I shall 
almost feel as if the queen had come back to me.' 

So a magnificent suite of rooms was prepared and set 
aside for the new-comers and the little princess was wild 

Digitized by Microsoft <® 


with joy at the thought of having her friends so near 
her. The lady and her daughter arrived, and for a long 
time all went well. They were very kind to the mother- 
less princess, and she almost began to forget how dull 
she had been before they came. Then, one day, as she 
and the other girl were playing together in the gardens 
of the palace, the lady came to them, dressed for a 
journey, and kissed the princess tenderly, saying : 

' Farewell, my child ; my daughter and I must leave 
you and go far away/ 

The poor princess began to cry bitterly. ' Oh ! you 
must not leave me ! ' she sobbed. ' What shall I do 
without you ? Please, oh ! please stay.' 

The lady shook her head. 

' It almost breaks my heart to go, dear child,' she 
said, ' but, alas ! it must be.' 

* Is there nothing that can keep you here ? ' asked 
the princess. 

' Only one thing,' answered the lady, ' and as that is 
impossible, we will not speak of it.' 

' Nothing is impossible,' persisted the princess. ' Tell 
me what it is, and it shall be done.' 

So at last her friend told her. 

' If the king, your father, would make me his queen 
I would stay,' she said ; ' but that he would never do.' 

* Oh, yes ! that is easy enough ! ' cried the princess, 
delighted to think that, after all, they need not be parted. 
And she ran off to find her father, and beg him to marry 
the lady at once. He had done everything she asked, 
and she was quite certain he would do it. 

1 What is it, my daughter? ' he asked, when he saw 
her. ' You have been crying — are you not happy ? ' 

' Father,' she said, ' I have come to ask you to marry 
the countess' — (for that was the lady's real title) — ' if 
you do not she will leave us, and then I shall be as lonely 
as before. You have never refused me what I have 
asked before, do not refuse me now.' 


The king turned quite pale when he heard this. He 
did not like the countess, and so, of course, he did not 
wish to marry her ; besides, he still loved his dead wife. 
' No that I cannot do, rny child,' he said at last. 
At these words the princess began to cry once more, 
and the tears ran down her cheeks so fast, and she sobbed 
so bitterly, that her father felt quite miserable too. He 
remembered the promise he had given always to do what 
his daughter asked him, and in the end he gave way, and 
promised to marry the countess. The princess at once 
was all smiles, and ran away to tell the good news. 

Soon after, the wedding was celebrated with great 
festivities, and the countess became queen ; but, in spite 
of all the joy and merriment that filled the palace, the 
king looked pale and sad, for he was certain that ill 
would come of the marriage. Sure enough, in a very 
short time the queen's manner towards the princess 
began to change. She was jealous of her because she, 
instead of her own daughter, was heir to the throne, and 
very soon she could no longer hide her thoughts. Instead 
of speaking kindly and lovingly as before, her words 
became rough and cruel, and once or twice she even 
slapped the princess's face. 

The king was very unhappy at seeing his dearly loved 
daughter suffer, and at last she became so wretched that 
he could no longer bear it. Calling her to him one day 
he said : 

1 My daughter, you are no longer merry as you should 
be, and I fear that it is the fault of your step-mother. It 
will be better for you to live with her no longer ; therefore 
I have built you a castle on the island in the lake, and 
that is to be your home in future. There you can do just 
as you like, and your step-mother will never enter it.' 

The princess was delighted to hear this, and still 
more pleased when she saw the castle, which was full of 
beautiful things, and had a great number of windows 
looking out on the Jovely blue water. There was a boat 


in which she might row herself about, and a garden 
where she could walk whenever she wished without fear 
of meeting the unkind queen ; and the king promised to 
visit her every day. 

For a long time she dwelt in peace, and grew more 
and more beautiful every day. Everyone who saw her 
said ' The princess is the loveliest lady in the land.' And 
this was told to the queen, who hated her step-daughter 
still more because her own daughter w T as ugly and stupid. 

One day it was announced that a great meeting of 
knights and nobles was to be held in a neighbouring 
kingdom distant about two days' journey. There were 
to be all kinds of festivities, and a tournament was to be 
fought and a banquet held, in honour of the coming of 
age of the prince of the country. 

The princess's father was amongst those invited, but 
before he set out he went to take leave of his daughter. 
Although she had such a beautiful home, and was no 
longer scolded by the queen, the poor princess was 
dreadfully lonely, and she told her father that it would 
be better if she were dead. He did his best to comfort 
her and promised that he would soon return. Was there 
anything he could do to help her? 

* Yes,' she said. ' You may greet the Green Knight 
from me.' 

Now the king wondered a little at these words, for he 
had never heard of the Green Knight ; but there was no 
time to ask questions, therefore he gave the promise, and 
rode off on his journey. When he came to the palace 
where the festivities were to take place, the first thing 
he did was to ask : 

1 Can anyone tell me where I may find the Green 

No, they were very sorry ; but none had ever heard of 
such a person either — certainly he was not to be found 
there. At this the king grew troubled, and not even the 
banquet or the tournament could make him feel happier. 


He inquired of everyone he saw, ' Do you know the Green 
Knight ? ' but the only answer he got was : 

' No, your majesty, we have never heard of him.' 

At length he began to believe that the princess was 
mistaken, and that there was no such person ; and he 
started on his homeward journey sorrowfully enough, for 
this was the first time for many months that the princess 
had asked him to do anything for her and he could not 
do it. He thought so much about it that he did not 
notice the direction his horse was taking, and presently 
he found himself in the midst of a dense forest where he 
had never been before. He rode on and on, looking for 
the path, but as the sun began to set he realised that he 
was lost. At last, to his delight, he saw a man driving 
some pigs, and riding up to him, he said : 

' I have lost my way. Can you tell me where I am ? ' 

' You are in the Green Knight's forest,' answered the 
man, ' and these are his pigs.' 

At that the king's heart grew light. * Where does 
the Green Knight live ? ' he asked. 

'It is a very long way from here/ said the swine- 
herd ; ' but I will show you the path.' So he went a little 
farther with the king and put him on the right road, and 
the king bade him farewell. 

Presently he came to a second forest, and there he 
met another swineherd driving pigs, 

' Whose beasts are those, my man ? ' he asked. 

' They are the Green Knight's/ said the man. 

' And where does he live ? ' inquired the king. 

' Oh, not far from here/ was the reply. 

Then the king rode on, and about midday he reached a 
beautiful castle standing in the midst of the loveliest 
garden you can possibly imagine, where fountains played 
in marble basins, and peacocks walked on the smooth 
lawns. On the edge of a marble basin sat a young and 
handsome man, who was dressed from head to foot in a 

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suit of green armour, and was feeding the goldfish 
which swam in the clear water. 

' This must be the Green Knight,' thought the king ; 
and going up to the young man he said courteously : 

' I have come, sir, to give you my daughter's greeting. 
But I have wandered far, and lost my way in your forest/ 

The knight looked at him for a moment as though 

' I have never met either you or your daughter,' he 
said at last ; ' but you are very welcome all the same/ 
And he waved his hand towards the castle. However, 
the king took no notice, and told him that his daughter 
had sent a message to the Green Knight, and as he was 
the only Green Knight in the kingdom this message 
must be for him. 

' You must pass the night with me here,' said the 
knight ; and as the sun was already set, the king was 
thankful to accept the invitation. They sat down in the 
castle hall to a magnificent banquet, and although he 
had travelled much and visited many monarchs in their 
palaces, the king had never fared better than at the table 
of the Green Knight, whilst his host himself was so clever 
and agreeable, that he was delighted, and thought ' what 
a charming son-in-law this knight would make ! ' 

Next morning, when he was about to set forth on his 
journey home, the Green Knight put into his hand a 
jewelled casket, saying : 

' Will your highness graciously condescend to carry 
this gift to the princess, your daughter? It contains my 
portrait, that when I come she may know me ; for I feel 
certain that she is the lady I have seen night after night 
in a dream, and I must win her for my bride/ 

The king gave the knight his blessing, and promised 
to take the gift to his daughter. With that he set off, 
and ere long reached his own country. 

The princess was awaiting him anxiously when he 

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arrived, and ran to his arms in her joy at seeing her 
dear father again. 

1 And did you see the Green Knight ? ' she asked. 

' Yes,' answered the king, drawing out the casket the 
knight had sent, ' and he begged me to give you this that 
you may know him when he arrives and not mistake him 
for somebody else.' 

When the princess saw the portrait she was delighted, 
and exclaimed : * It is indeed the man whom I have seen 
in my dreams I Now I shall be happy, for he and no 
other shall be my husband.' 

Very soon after the Green Knight arrived, and he 
looked so handsome in his green armour, with a long 
green plume in his helmet, that the princess fell still 
more in love with him than before, and when he saw 
her, and recognised her as the lady whom he had so 
often dreamt of, he immediately asked her to be his bride. 
The princess looked down and smiled as she answered 
him : 

* We must keep the secret from my step-mother until 
the wedding-day,' said she, ' for otherwise she will find a 
way to do us some evil.' 

' As you please,' replied the prince ; ' but I must visit 
you daily, for I can live no longer without you ! I will 
come early in the morning and not leave until it is dark ; 
thus the queen will not see me row across the lake.' 

For a long time, the Green Knight visited the princess 
every day, and spent many hours wandering with her 
through the beautiful gardens where they knew the 
queen could not see them. But secrets, as you know, are 
dangerous things, and at last, one morning, a girl who was 
in service at the palace happened to be walking by the 
lake early in the morning and beheld a wonderfully hand- 
some young man, in a beautiful suit of green satin, come 
down to the edge of the lake. Not guessing that he was 
watched, he got into a little boat that lay moored to the 
bank, and rowed himself over to the island where the 

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princess's castle stood. The girl went home wondering 
who the knight could be ; and as she was brushing the 
queen's hair, she said to her : 

' Does your majesty know that the princess has a 
suitor ? ' 

' Nonsense ! ' replied the queen crossly. But she was 
dreadfully vexed at the mere idea, as her own daughter 
was still unmarried, and was likely to remain so, because 
she was so ill-tempered and stupid that no one wanted 


I It is true/ persisted the girl. ' He is dressed all in 
green, and is very handsome. I saw him myself, though 
he did not see me, and he got into a boat and rowed over 
to the island, and the princess was waiting for him at the 
castle door.' 

I I must find out what this means/ thought the 
queen. But she bade her maid of honour cease chattering 
and mind her own business. 

Early next morning the queen got up and went down 
to the shore of the lake, where she hid herself behind a 
tree. Sure enough there came a handsome knight 
dressed in green, just as the maid of honour had said, 
and he got into a boat and rowed over to the island 
where the princess awaited him. The angry queen 
remained by the lake all day, but it was not until the 
evening that the knight returned, and leaping on shore, 
he tied the boat to its moorings and went away through 
the forest. 

' I have caught my step-daughter nicely/ thought the 
queen. ' But she shall not be married before my own 
sweet girl. I must find a way to put a stop to this.' 

Accordingly she took a poisoned nail and stuck it in 
the handle of the oar in such a way that the knight 
would be sure to scratch his hand when he picked up the 
oar. Then she went home laughing, very much pleased 
with her cleverness. 

The next day the Green Knight went to visit the 
princess as usual ; but directly he took up the oars to row 
over to the island he felt a sharp scratch on his hand. 

' Oof ! ' he said, dropping the oars from pain, ' what 
can have scratched so ? ' But, look as he might, only a 
tiny mark was to be seen. 

' Well, it's strange how a nail could have come here 
since yesterday/ he thought. ' Still, it is not very 
serious, though it hurts a good deal.' And, indeed, it 
seemed such a little thing that he did not mention it to 

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the princess. However, when he reached home in the 
evening, he felt so ill he was obliged to go to bed, with 
no one to attend on him except his old nurse. But of 
this, of course, the princess knew nothing ; and the poor 
girl, fearing lest some evil should have befallen him, 
or some other maiden more beautiful than she should 
have stolen his heart from her, grew almost sick with 
waiting. Lonely indeed she was, for her father, who 
would have helped her, was travelling in a foreign 
country, and she knew not how to obtain news of her 

In this manner time passed away, and one day, as 
she sat by the open window crying and feeling very sad, 
a little bird came and perched on the branch of a tree 
that stood just underneath. It began to sing, and so 
beautifully that the princess was obliged to stop crying 
and listen to it, and very soon she found out that the 
bird was trying to attract her attention. 

1 Tu-whit, tu-whit ! your lover is sick ! ' it sang. 

' Alas ! ' cried the princess. ' What can I do ? ' 

' Tu-whit, tu-whit ! you must go to your father's 
palace ! ' 

' And what shall I do there ? ' she asked. 

1 Tu-whit ! there you will find a snake with nine 
young ones.' 

' Ugh ! ' answered the princess with a shiver, for she 
did not like snakes. But the little bird paid no heed. 

' Put them in a basket and go to the Green Knight's 
palace,' said she. 

' And what am I to do with them when I get there ? ' 
she cried, blushing all over, though there was no one to 
see her but the bird. 

' Dress yourself as a kitchen-maid and ask for a place. 
Tu-whit ! Then you must make soup out of the snakes. 
Give it three times to the knight and he will be cured. 

CL. M 


6 But what has made him ill ? * asked the princess. 
The bird, however, had flown away, and there was 
nothing for it but to go to her father's palace and look 
for the snakes. When she came there she found the 
mother snake with the nine little snakes all curled up so 
that you could hardly tell their heads from their tails. 
The princess did not like having to touch them, but 
when the old snake had wriggled out of the nest to bask 
a little in the sun, she picked up the young ones and put 
them in a basket as the bird had told her, and ran off 
to find the Green Knight's castle. All day she walked 
along, sometimes stopping to pick the wild berries, or to 
gather a nosegay ; but though she rested now and then, 
she would not lie down to sleep before she reached the 
castle. At last she came in sight of it, and just then she 
met a girl driving a flock of geese. 

1 Good day ! ' said the princess ; ' can you tell me if 
this is the castle of the Green Knight? ' 

* Yes, that it is,' answered the goose-girl, ' for I am 
driving his geese. But the Green Knight is veryil], and 
they say that unless he can be cured within three days 
he will surely die.' 

At this news the princess grew as white as death. The 
ground seemed to spin round, and she closed her hand 
tight on a bush that was standing beside her. By-and- 
by, with a great effort, she recovered herself and said to 
the goose-girl : 

* Would you like to have a fine silk dress to wear ? ' 
The goose-girl's eyes glistened. 

' Yes, that I would ! ' answered she. 

' Then take off your dress and give it to me, and I will 
give you mine/ said the princess. 

The girl could scarcely believe her ears, but the 
princess was already unfastening her beautiful silk dress, 
and taking off her silk stockings and pretty red shoes ; 
and the goose-girl lost no time in slipping out of her 
rough linen skirt and tunic. Then the princess put on 

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M 2 

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the other's rags and let down her hair, and went to the 
kitchen to ask for a place. 

* Do you want a kitchen-maid ? ' she said. 

1 Yes, we do,' answered the cook, who was too busy 
to ask the new-comer many questions. 

The following day, after a good night's rest, the 
princess set about her new duties. The other servants 
were speaking of their master, and saying to each other 
how ill he was, and that unless he could be cured within 
three days he would surely die. 

The princess thought of the snakes, and the bird's 
advice, and lifting her head from the pots and pans she 
was scouring, she said : ' I know how to make a soup that 
has such a wonderful power that whoever tastes it is 
sure to be cured, whatever his illness may be. As the 
doctors cannot cure your master shall I try ? ' 

At first they all laughed at her. 

' What ! a scullion cure the knight when the best 
physicians in the kingdom have failed ? ' 

But at last, just because all the physicians had failed, 
they decided that it would do no harm to try ; and she 
ran off joyfully to fetch her basket of snakes and make 
them into broth. When this was ready she carried some 
to the knight's room and entered it boldly, pushing aside 
all the learned doctors who stood beside his bed. The 
poor knight was too ill to know her, besides, she was so 
ragged and dirty that he would not have been likely to 
do so had he been well ; but when he had taken the 
soup he was so much better that he was able to sit up. 

The next day he had some more, and then he was 
able to dress himself. 

* That is certainly wonderful soup ! ' said the cook. 
The third day, after he had eaten his soup, the knight 

was quite well again. 

' Who are you ? ' he asked the girl ; ' was it you who 
made this soup that has cured me ? ' 

' Yes,' answered the princess. 


1 Choose, then, whatever you wish as a reward,' said 
the knight, ' and you shall have it.' 

* I would be your bride ! * said the princess. 

The knight frowned in surprise at such boldness, 
and shook his head. 

* That is the one thing I cannot grant/ he said, ' for 
I am pledged to marry the most beautiful princess in 
the world. Choose again/ 

Then the princess ran away and washed herself and 
mended her rags, and when she returned the Green 
Knight recognised her at once. 

You can think what a joyful meeting that was ! 

Soon after, they were married with great splendour. 
All the knights and princes in the kingdom were sum- 
moned to the wedding, and the princess wore a dress, 
that shone like the sun, so that no one had ever beheld a 
more gorgeous sight. The princess's father, of course, 
was present, but the wicked queen and her daughter 
were driven out of the country, and as nobody has seen 
them since, very likely they were eaten by wild beasts in 
the forest. But the bride and bridegroom were so happy 
that they forgot all about them, and they lived with the 
old king till he died, when they succeeded him. 

[From " Eventyr fra Jyllancl" samlede ng ontegnetle of Evald Tang> 
Kristensen. Translated from the Danish by Mrs. Skovgaard-Pedersen.] 

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Once there lived a handsome young man named Earn 
Singh, who, though a favourite with everyone, was 
unhappy because he had a scold for a step-mother. All 
day long she went on talking, until the youth was driven 
so distracted that he determined to go away somewhere 
and seek his fortune. No sooner had he decided to 
leave his home than he made his plans, and the very 
next morning he started off with a few clothes in a 
wallet, and a little money in his pocket. 

But there was one person in the village to whom he 
wished to say good-bye, and that was a wise old guru, or 
teacher, who had taught him much. So he turned his 
face first of all towards his master's hut, and before the 
sun was well up was knocking at his door. The old 
man received his pupil affectionately ; but he was wise 
in reading faces, and saw at once that the youth was in 

' My son/ said he, ' what is the matter ? ' 

' Nothing, father,' replied the young man, ' but I have 
determined to go into the world and seek my fortune.' 

' Be advised,' returned the guru, ' and remain in your 
father's house ; it is better to have half a loaf at home 
than to seek a whole one in distant countries.' 

But Earn Singh was in no mood to heed such advice, 
and very soon the old man ceased to press him. 

' Well,' said he at last, ' if your mind is made up I 
suppose you must have your way. But listen carefully, 

1 A Hindu religious teacher or saint ; in this case a Sikh. 


and remember five parting counsels which I will give 
you ; and if you keep these no evil shall befall you. 
First — always obey without question the orders of him 
whose service you enter ; second — never speak harshly 
or unkindly to anyone ; third — never lie ; fourth — never 
try to appear the equal of those above you in station ; 
and fifth — wherever you go, if you meet those who read 
or teach from the holy books, stay and listen, if but for a 
few minutes, that you may be strengthened in the path 
of duty.' 

Then Earn Singh started out upon his journey, promis- 
ing to bear in mind the old man's words. 

After some days he came to a great city. He had 
spent all the money which he had at starting, and there- 
fore resolved to look for work however humble it might 
be. Catching sight of a prosperous-looking merchant 
standing in front of a shop full of grain of all kinds, 
Earn Singh went up to him and asked whether he could 
give him anything to do. The merchant gazed at him 
so long that the young man began to lose heart, but at 
length he answered : 

' Yes, of course ; there is a place waiting for you.' 

* What do you mean ? ' asked Earn Singh. 

' Why/ replied the other, ' yesterday our rajah's 
chief wazir dismissed his body servant and is wanting 
another. Now you are just the sort of person that 
he needs, for you are young and tall, and handsome ; 
I advise you to apply there.' 

Thanking the merchant for this advice, the young 
man set out at once for the wazir's house, and soon 
managed, thanks to his good looks and appearance, to be 
engaged as the great man's servant. 

One day, soon after this, the rajah of the place started 
on a journey and the chief wazir accompanied him. 
With them was an army of servants and attendants, 
soldiers, muleteers, camel-drivers, merchants with grain 
and stores for man and beast, singers to- make entertain- 


ment by the way and musicians to accompany them, 
besides elephants, camels, horses, mules, ponies, donkeys, 
goats, and carts and wagons of every kind and description, 
so that it seemed more like a large town on the march 
than anything else. 

Thus they travelled for several days, till they entered 
a country that was like a sea of sand, where the swirling 
dust floated in clouds, and men and beasts were half 
choked by it. Towards the close of that day they came 
to a village, and when the headmen hurried out to 
salute the rajah and to pay him their respects, they 
began, with very long and serious faces, to explain that, 
wdiilst they and all that they had were of course at the 
disposal of the rajah, the coming of so large a company 
had nevertheless put them into a dreadful difficulty 
because they had never a well nor spring of water in 
their country ; and they had no water to give drink to 
such an army of men and beasts ! 

Great fear fell upon the host at the words of the 
headmen, but the rajah merely told the wazir that he 
must get water somehow, and that settled the matter so 
far as he was concerned. The wazir sent off in haste 
for all the oldest men in the place, and began to question 
them as to whether there were no wells near by. 

They all looked helplessly at each other, and said 
nothing ; but at length one old grey-beard replied : 

' Truly, Sir Wazir, there is, within a mile or two of 
this village, a well which some former king made hundreds 
of years ago. It is, they say, great and inexhaustible, 
covered in by heavy stone- work and with a flight of 
steps leading down to the water in the very bowels of the 
earth ; but no man ever goes near it because it is haunted 
by evil spirits, and it is known that whoso disappears 
down the well shall never be seen again.' 

The wazir stroked his beard and considered a moment. 
Then he turned to Ram Singh who stood behind his 


1 There is a proverb/ said he, ' that no man can be 
trusted until he has been tried. Go you and get the 
rajah and his people water from this well.' 

Then there flashed into Earn Singh's mind the first 
counsel of the old guru — * Always obey without question 
the orders of him whose service you enter! So he replied 
at once that he was ready, and left to prepare for his 
adventure. Two great brazen vessels he fastened to a 
mule, two lesser ones he bound upon his shoulders, and 
thus provided he set out, with the old villager for his 
guide. In a short time they came to a spot where some 
big trees towered above the barren country, whilst under 
their shadow lay the dome of an ancient building. This 
the guide pointed out as the well, but excused himself 
from going further as he was an old man and tired, and 
it was already nearly sunset, so that he must be returning 
home. So Earn Singh bade him farewell, and went on 
alone with the mule. 

Arrived at the trees, Earn Singh tied up his beast, 
lifted the vessels from his shoulder, and having found 
the opening of the well, descended by a flight of steps 
which led down into the darkness. The steps were 
broad white slabs of alabaster which gleamed in the 
shadows as he went lower and lower. All was very 
silent. Even the sound of his bare feet upon the pave- 
ment seemed to wake an echo in that lonely place, and 
when one of the vessels which he carried slipped and 
fell upon the steps it clanged so loudly that he jumped 
at the noise. Still he went on, until at last he reached a 
wide pool of sweet water, and there he washed his jars 
with care before he filled them, and began to remount 
the steps with the lighter vessels, as the big ones were 
so heavy he could only take up one at a time. Suddenly, 
something moved above him, and looking up he saw a 
great giant standing on the stairway ! In one hand he 
held clasped to his heart a dreadful looking mass of 
bones, in the <^fi$J ffifflji$ s %ffl $*S shadows 



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about the walls, and made him seem even more terrible 
than he really was. 

' What think you, mortal,' said the giant, ' of my 
fair and lovely wife ? ' And he held the light towards 
the bones in his arms and looked lovingly at them. 

Now I must tell you that this poor giant had had a 
very beautiful wife, whom he had loved dearly ; but, when 
she died, her husband refused to believe in her death, 
and always carried her about long after she had become 
nothing but bones. Earn Singh of course did not know 
of this, but there came to his mind the second wise 
saying of the guru, which forbade him to speak harshly 
or inconsiderately to others ; so he replied : 

1 Truly, sir, I am sure you could find nowhere such 

' Ah, what eyes you have ! ' cried the delighted giant, 
* you at least can see ! I do not know how often I have 
slain those who insulted her by saying she was but dried 
bones ! You are a fine young man, and I will help you.' 

So saying, he laid down the bones with great tender- 
ness, and snatching up the huge brass vessels, carried 
them up again, and replaced them with such ease that 
it was all done by the time that Earn Singh had reached 
the open air with the smaller ones. 

' Now/ said the giant, 'you have pleased me, and you 
may ask of me one favour, and whatever you wish I will 
do it for you. Perhaps you would like me to show you 
where lies buried the treasure of dead kings ? ' he added 

But Earn Singh shook his head at the mention of 
buried wealth. 

' The favour that I would ask,' said he, ' is that you 
will leave off haunting this well, so that men may go in 
and out and obtain water.' 

Perhaps the giant expected some favour more diffi- 
cult to grant, for his face brightened, and he promised to 
depart at once. ; and as Earn Singh went off through the 


gathering darkness with his precious burden of water, he 
beheld the giant striding away with the bones of his 
dead wife in his arms. 

Great was the wonder and rejoicing in the camp 
when Ram Singh returned with the water. He never 
said anything, however, about his adventure with the 
giant, but merely told the rajah that there was nothing 
to prevent the well being used ; and used it was, and 
nobody ever saw any more of the giant. 

The rajah was so pleased with the bearing of Earn 
Singh that he ordered the wazir to give the young man 
to him in exchange for one of his own servants. So Ram 
Singh became the rajah's attendant ; and as the days 
went by the king became more and more delighted with 
the youth because, mindful of the old guru's third 
counsel, he was always honest and spoke the truth. He 
grew in favour rapidly, until at last the rajah made him 
his treasurer, and thus he reached a high place in 
the court and ha'd wealth and power in his hands. 
Unluckily the rajah had a brother who was a very bad 
man ; and this brother thought that if he could win the 
young treasurer over to himself he might by this means 
manage to steal little by little any of the king's treasure 
which he needed. Then, with plenty of money, he could 
bribe the soldiers and some of the rajah's counsellors, 
head a rebellion, dethrone and kill his brother, and reign 
himself instead. He was too wary, of course, to tell 
Ram Singh of all these wicked plans ; but he began by 
flattering him whenever he saw him, and at last offered 
him his daughter in marriage. But Ram Singh remem- 
bered the fourth counsel of the old guru — never to 
try to appear the equal of those above him in station 
— therefore he respectfully declined the great honour of 
marrying a princess. Of course the prince, baffled at 
the very beginning of his enterprise, was furious, and 
determined to work Ram Singh's ruin, and entering the 
rajah's presence he told him a story about Ram Singh 

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having spoken insulting words of his sovereign and of 
his daughter. What it was all about nobody knew, and, 
as it was not true, the wicked prince did not know either ; 
but the rajah grew very angry and red in the face as he 
listened, and declared that until the treasurer's head was 
cut off neither he nor the princess nor his brother would 
eat or drink. 

' But,' added he, ' I do not wish anyone to know that 
this was done by my desire, and anyone who mentions 
the subject will be severely punished.' And with this the 
prince was forced to be content. 

Then the rajah sent for an officer of his guard, and 
told him to take some soldiers and ride at once to a tower 
which was situated just outside the town, and if anyone 
should come to inquire when the building w T as going to 
be finished, or should ask any other questions about it, 
the officer must chop his head off, and bring it to him. 
As for the body, that could be buried on the spot. The 
old officer thought these instructions rather odd, but it 
was no business of his, so he saluted, and went off to do 
his master's bidding. 

Early in the morning the rajah, who had not slept 
all night, sent for Earn Singh, and bade him go to the 
new hunting-tower, and ask the people there how it was 
getting on and when it was going to be finished, and to 
hurry back with the answer ! Away went Earn Singh 
upon his errand, but, on the road, as he was passing a 
little temple on the outskirts of the city, he heard 
someone inside reading aloud ; and, remembering the 
guru's fifth counsel, he just stepped inside and sat down 
to listen for a minute. He did not mean to stay longer, 
but became so deeply interested in the wisdom of the 
teacher, that he sat, and sat, and sat, while the sun rose 
higher and higher. 

In the meantime, the wicked prince, who dared not 
disobey the rajah's command, was feeling very hungry ; 
and as for the princess,* she was quietly crying in a 


corner waiting for the news of Earn Singh's death, so 
that she might eat her breakfast. 

Hours passed, and stare as he might from the window 
no messenger could be seen. 

At last the prince could bear it no longer, and hastily 
disguising himself so that no one should recognise him, 
he jumped on a horse and galloped out to the hunting- 
tower, where the rajah had told him that the execution 
was to take place. But, when he got there, there was 
no execution going on. There were only some men en- 
gaged in building, and a number of soldiers idly watching 
them. He forgot that he had disguised himself and that 
no one would know him, so, riding up, he cried out : 

' Now then, you men, why are you idling about here 
instead of finishing what you came to do ? When is it 
to be done ? ' 

At his words the soldiers looked at the commanding 
officer, who was standing a little apart from the rest. 
Unperceived by the prince he made a slight sign, a sword 
flashed in the sun, and off flew a head on the ground 
beneath ! 

As part of the prince's disguise had been a thick beard, 
the men did not recognise the dead man as the rajah's 
brother ; but they wrapped the head in a cloth, and buried 
the body as their commander bade them. When this 
was ended, the officer took the cloth, and rode off in the 
direction of the palace. 

Meanwhile the rajah came home from his council, 
and to his great surpi'ise found neither head nor brother 
awaiting him ; as time passed on, he became uneasy, 
and thought that he had better go himself and see what 
the matter was. So ordering his horse he rode off 

It happened that, just as the rajah came near to the 
temple where Earn Singh still sat, the young treasurer, 
hearing the sound of a horse's hoofs, looked over his 
shoulder and saw that the rider was the rajah himself I 

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Feeling much ashamed of himself for having forgotten 
his errand, he jumped up and hurried out to meet his 
master, who reined up his horse, and seemed very 
surprised (as indeed he was) to see him. At that moment 
there arrived the officer of the guard carrying his parcel. 
He saluted the rajah gravely, and, dismounting, laid the 
bundle in the road and began to undo the wrappings, 
whilst the rajah watched him with wonder and interest. 
When the last string was undone, and the head of his 
brother was displayed to his view, the rajah sprang from 
his horse and caught the soldier by the arm. As soon 
as he could speak he questioned the man as to what had 
occurred, and little by little a dark suspicion darted through 
him. Then, briefly telling the soldier that he had done 
well, the rajah drew Earn Singh to one side, and in 
a few minutes learned from him how, in attending to the 
guru's counsel, he had delayed to do the king's message. 
In the end the rajah found from some papers the 
proofs of his dead brother's treachery ; and Earn Singh 
established his innocence and integrity. He continued to 
serve the rajah for many years with unswerving fidelity ; 
and married a maiden of his own rank in life, with whom 
he lived happily ; dying at last honoured and loved by 
all men. Sons were born to him ; and, in time, to them 
also he taught the five wise sayings of the old guru. 

[A Punjabi story.] 


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Once upon a time there lived in Egypt a king who lost 
his sight from a bad illness. Of course he was very 
unhappy, and became more so as months passed, and all 
the best doctors in the land were unable to cure him. 
The poor man grew so thin from misery that everyone 
thought he was going to die, and the prince, his only son, 
thought so too. 

Great was therefore the rejoicing through Egypt 
when a traveller arrived in a boat down the river Nile, 
and after questioning the x>eople as to the reason of their 
downcast looks, declared that he was court physician to 
the king of a far country, and would, if allowed, examine 
the eyes of the blind man. He was at once admitted 
into the royal presence, and after a few minutes of care- 
ful study announced that the case, though very serious, 
was not quite hopeless. 

' Somewhere in the Great Sea,' he said, c there exists 
a Golden-headed Eish. If you can manage to catch this 
creature, bring it to me, and I will prepare an ointment 
from its blood which will restore your sight. Eor a 
hundred days I will wait here, but if at the end of that 
time the fish should still be uncaught, I must return to 
my own master.' 

The next morning the young prince set forth in quest 
of the fish, taking with him a hundred men, each 
man carrying a net. Quite a little fleet of boaxs was 
awaiting them, and in these they sailed to the middle 
of the Great Sea. During three months they laboured 

rog-Tritjcalias pity ontga "QoTd-TJq ated'lFlShL^ 

. - ■ — 

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diligently from sunrise to sunset, but though they caught 
large multitudes of fishes, not one of them had a golden 

'It is quite useless now,' said the prince on the 
very last night. ' Even if we find it this evening, the 
hundred days will be over in an hour, and long before 
we could reach the Egyptian capital the doctor will be 
on his way home. Still, I will go out again, and cast 
the net once more myself.' And so he did, and at the 
very moment that the hundred days were up, he drew 
in the net with the Golden-headed Eish entangled in its 

' Success has come, but, as happens often, it is too 
late/ murmured the young man, who had studied in the 
schools of philosophy ; ' but, all the same, put the fish in 
that vessel full of water, and we will take it back to show 
my father that we have done what we could.' But when 
he drew near the fish it looked up at him with such 
piteous eyes that he could not make up his miud to 
condemn it to death. Eor he knew well that, though 
the doctors of his own country were ignorant of the 
secret of the ointment, they would do all in their power 
to extract something from the fish's blood. So he 
picked up the imze of so much labour, and threw it 
back into the sea, and then began his journey back to 
the palace. When at last he reached it he found the 
king in a high fever, caused by his disappointment, and 
he refused to believe the story told him by his son. 

' Your head shall pay for it ! Your head shall pay for 
it ! ' cried he ; and bade the courtiers instantly summon 
the executioner to the palace. 

But of course somebody ran at once to the queen, 
■and told her of the king's order, and she put common 
clothes on the prince, and filled his pockets with gold, 
and hurried him on board a ship which was sailing that 
night for a distant island. 

'Your father will repent some day, and then he will 


be thankful to know you are alive,' said she. ' But one 
last counsel will I give you, and that is, take no man 
into your service who desires to be paid every month.' 

The young prince thought this advice rather odd. If 
the servant had to be paid anyhow, he did not under- 
stand what difference it could make whether it was 
by the year or by the month. However, he had many 
times proved that his mother was wiser than he, so he 
promised obedience. 

After a voyage of several weeks, he arrived at the 
island of which his mother had spoken. It was full of 
hills and woods and flowers, and beautiful white houses, 
stood everywhere in gardens. 

' What a charming spot to live in,' thought the prince. 
And he lost no time in buying one of the prettiest of 
the dwellings. 

Then servants came pressing to offer their services ; 
but as they all declared that they must have payment at 
the end of every month, the young man, who remem- 
bered his mother's words, declined to have anything to 
say to them. At length, one morning, an Arab appeared 
and begged that the prince would engage him. 

1 And what wages do you ask ? ' inquired the prince, 
when he had questioned the new-comer and found him 

' I do not want money,' answered the Arab ; ' at the 
end of a year you can see what my services are worth 
to you, and can pay me in any way you like.' And the 
young man was pleased, and took the Arab for his servant. 

Now, although no one would have guessed it from 
the look of the side of the island where the prince had 
landed, the other part was a complete desert, owing to 
the ravages of a horrible monster which came up from 
the sea, and devoured all the corn and cattle. The 
governor had sent bands of soldiers to lie in wait for 
the creature in order to kill it ; but, somehow, no one 

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ever happened to be awake at the moment that the 
ravages were committed. It was in vain that the sleepy 
soldiers were always punished severely — the same thing 
invariably occurred next time ; and at last heralds were 
sent throughout the island to offer a great reward to 
the man who could slay the monster. 

As soon as the Arab heard the news, he went straight 
to the governor's palace. 

( If my master can succeed in killing the monster, 
what reward will you give him ? ' asked he. 

' My daughter and anything besides that he chooses/ 
answered the governor. But the Arab shook his head. 

' Give him your daughter and keep your wealth/ said 
he ; ' but, henceforward, let her share in your gains, 
whatever they are/ 

' It is well/ replied the governor ; and ordered a deed 
to be prepared, which was signed by both of them. 

That night the Arab stole down to the shore to watch, 
but, before he set out, he rubbed himself all over with 
some oil which made his skin smart so badly that there 
was no chance of his going to sleep as the soldiers had done. 
Then he hid himself behind a large rock and waited. 
By-and-by a swell seemed to rise on the water, and, a few 
minutes later, a hideous monster — part bird, part beast, 
and part serpent — stepped noiselessly on to the rocks. 
It walked stealthily up towards the fields, but the Arab 
was ready for it, and, as it passed, plunged his dagger 
into the soft part behind the ear. The creature staggered 
and gave a loud cry, and then rolled over dead, with its 
feet in the sea. 

The Arab watched for a little while, in order to make 
sure that there was no life left in his enemy, but as the 
huge body remained quite still, he quitted his hiding- 
place, and cut off the ears of his foe. These he carried 
to his master, bidding him show them to the governor, 
and declare that he himself, and no other, had killed the 


1 But it was you, and not I, who slew him/ objected 
the prince. 

' Never mind ; do as I bid you. I have a reason for 
it/ answered the Arab. And though the young man did 
not like taking credit for what he had never done, at 
length he gave in. 

The governor was so delighted at the news that he 
begged the prince to take his daughter to wife that very 
day ; but the prince refused, saying that all he desired 
was a ship which would carry him to see the world. Of 
course this was granted him at once, and when he and 
his faithful Arab embarked they found, heaped up in the 
vessel, stores of diamonds and precious stones, which 
the grateful governor had secretly placed there. 

So they sailed, and they sailed, and they sailed ; and 
at length they reached the shores of a great kingdom. 
Leaving the prince on board, the Arab went into the 
town to find out what sort of a place it was. After 
some hours he returned, saying that he heard that the 
king's daughter was the most beautiful princess in the 
world, and that the prince would do well to ask for her 

Nothing loth, the prince listened, to this advice, and 
taking some of the finest necklaces in his hand, he 
mounted a splendid horse which the Arab had bought 
for him, and rode up to the palace, closely followed by 
his faithful attendant. 

The strange king happened to be in a good humour, 
and they were readily admitted to his presence. Laying 
down his offerings on the steps of the throne, he prayed 
the king to grant him his daughter in marriage. 

The monarch listened to him in silence ; but answered, 
after a pause : 

' Young man, I will give you my daughter to wife, if 
that is your wish ; but first I must tell you that she 
has already gone through the marriage ceremony with a 
hundred and ninety voung men, and not one of them lived 

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for twelve hours after. So think, while there is yet 

The prince did think, and was so frightened that he 
very nearly went back to his ship without any more 
words. But just as he was about to withdraw his pro- 
posal the Arab whispered : 

' Fear nothing, but take her.' 

' The luck must change some time,' he said, at last ; 
1 and who would not risk his head for the hand of such a 
peerless princess ? ' 

'As you will,' replied the king. 'Then I will give 
orders that the marriage shall be celebrated to-night.' 

And so it was done ; and after the ceremony the bride 
and bridegroom retired to their own apartments to sup 
by themselves, for such was the custom of the country. 
The moon shone bright, and the prince walked to the 
window to look out upon the river and upon the distant 
hills, when his gaze suddenly fell on a silken shroud 
neatly laid out on a couch, with his name embroidered 
in gold thread across the front; for this also was the 
pleasure of the king. 

Horrified at the spectacle, he turned his head away, 
and this time his glance rested on a group of men, 
digging busily beneath the window. It was a strange 
hour for anyone to be at work, and what was the hole 
for? It was a curious shape, so long and narrow, 

almost like Ah ! yes, that was what it was ! It 

was his grave that they were digging ! 

The shock of the discovery rendered him speechless, 
yet he stood fascinated and unable to move. At this 
moment a small black snake darted from the mouth of 
the princess, who was seated at the table, and wriggled 
quickly towards him. But the Arab was watching for 
something of the sort to happen, and seizing the serpent 
with some pincers that he held in one hand, he cut off 
its head with a sharp dagger. 

The king could hardly believe his eyes when, early 


the next morning, his new son-in-law craved an audience 
of his Majesty. 

' What, you ? ' he cried, as the young man entered. 

'Yes, I. Why not?' asked the bridegroom, who 
thought it best to pretend not to know anything that 
had occurred. ' You remember, I told you that the luck 
must turn at last, and so it has. But I came to ask 
whether you would be so kind as to bid the gardeners 
fill up a great hole right underneath my window, which 
spoils the view.' 

1 Oh ! certainly, yes ; of course it shall be done ! ' 
stammered the king. ' Is there anything else ? ' 

' No, nothing, thank you,' replied the prince, as he 
bowed and withdrew. 

Now, from the moment that the Arab cut off the snake's 
head, bhe spell, or whatever it was, seemed to have been 
taken off the princess, and she lived very happily with 
her husband. The days passed swiftly in hunting in the 
forests, or sailing on the broad river that flowed past the 
palace, and when night fell she would sing to her harp, 
or the prince would tell her tales of his own country. 

One evening a man in a strange garb, with a face 
burnt brown by the sun, arrived at court. He asked to 
see the bridegroom, and falling on his face announced 
that he was a messenger sent by the Queen of Egypt, 
proclaiming him king in succession to his father, who 
was dead. 

'Her Majesty begs you will set off without delay, 
and your bride also, as the affairs of the kingdom are 
somewhat in disorder,' ended the messenger. 

Then the young man hastened to seek an audience 
of his father-in-law, who was delighted to find that his 
daughter's husband was not merely the governor of a 
province, as he had supposed, but the king of a powerful 
country. He at once ordered a splendid ship to be made 
ready, and in a week's time rode down to the harbour, to 
bid farewell to the young couple. 


In spite of her grief for the dead king, the queen 
was overjoyed to welcome her son home, and com- 
manded the palace to be hung with splendid stuffs to do 
honour to the bride. The people expected great things 
from their new sovereign, for they had suffered much 
from the harsh rule of the old one, and crowds presented 
themselves every morning with petitions in their hands, 
which they hoped to persuade the king to grant. Truly, 
he had enough to keep him busy ; but he was very happy 
for all that, till, one night, the Arab came to him, and 
begged permission to return to his own land. 

Filled with dismay the young man said : * Leave 
me ! Do you really wish to leave me ? ' Sadly the 
Arab bowed his head. 

' No, my master ; never could I wish to leave you I 
But I have received a summons, and I dare not dis- 
obey it.' 

The king was silent, trying to choke down the grief 
he felt at the thought of losing his faithful servant. 

' Well, I must not try to keep you,' he faltered out 
at last. ' That would be a poor return for all that you 
have done for me ! Everything I have is yours : take 
what you will, for without you I should long ago have 
been dead ! ' 

* And without you, I should long ago have been dead/ 
answered the Arab. 'Jam the Golden-headed Fish.' 

[Adapted from Contes Armeniens. Par Frederic Macler, Paris. 
Ernest Leroux, Editeur.] 

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Once upon a time there lived in a city of Hindustan a 
seller of scents and essences, who had a very beautiful 
daughter named Dorani. This maiden had a friend who 
was a fairy, and the two were high in favour with Indra, 
the king of fairyland, because they were able to sing so 
sweetly and dance so deftly that no one in the kingdom 
could equal them for grace and beauty. Dorani had the 
most lovely hair in the world, for it was like spun gold, 
and the smell of it was like the smell of fresh roses. But 
her locks were so long and thick that the weight of it was 
often unbearable, and one day she cut off a shining tress, 
and wrapping it in a large leaf, threw it in the river 
which ran just below her window. Now it happened 
that the king's son was out hunting, and had gone down 
to the river to drink, when there floated towards him 
a folded leaf, from which came a perfume of roses. The 
prince, with idle curiosity, took a step into the water and 
caught the leaf as it was sailing by. He opened it, and 
within he found a lock of hair like spun gold, and from 
which came a faint, exquisite odour. 

When the prince reached home that day he looked 
so sad and was so quiet that his father wondered if any 
ill had befallen him, and asked what was the matter. 
Then the youth took from his breast the tress of hair 
which he had found in the river, and holding it up to the 
light, replied : 

1 See, my father, was ever hair like this ? Unless 
I may win and marry the maiden that owns that lock 

i must ^ig itized by Microsoft® 

Me neVer could, persuade ?zer to sat/, cl Single* wor'cL >? 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 


So the king immediately sent heralds throughout all 
his dominions to search for the damsel with hair like spun 
gold ; and at last he learned that she was the daughter 
of the scent-seller. The object of the herald's mission 
was quickly noised abroad, and Dorani heard of it with 
the rest ; and, one day, she said to her father : 

' If the hair is mine, and the king requires me to 
marry his son I must do so ; but, remember, you must 
tell him that if, after the wedding, I stay all day at the 
palace, every night will be spent in my old home.' 

The old man listened to her with amazement, but 
answered nothing, as he knew she was wiser than he. 
Of course the hair was Dorani's, and the heralds soon 
returned and informed the king, their master, who sum- 
moned the scent-seller, and told him that he wished for 
his daughter to be given in marriage to the prince. The 
father bowed his head three times to the ground, and 
replied : 

' Your highness is our lord, and all that you bid us we 
will do. The maiden asks this only- — that if, after the 
wedding, she stays all day at the palace, she may go back 
each night to her father s house.' 

The king thought this a very strange request ; but 
said to himself it was, after all, his son's affair, and the 
girl would surely soon get tired of going to and fro. 
So he made no difficulty, and everything was speedily 
arranged and the wedding was celebrated with great 

At first, the condition attaching to his wedding with 
the lovely Dorani troubled the prince very little, for he 
thought that he would at least see his bride all day. 
But, to his dismay, he found that she would do nothing 
but sit the whole time upon a stool with her head bowed 
forward upon her knees, and he could never persuade her 
to say a single word. Each evening she was carried in a 
palanquin to her father's house, and each morning she 
was brought back soon after daybreak ; and yet never a 


sound passed her lips, nor did she show by any sign that 
she saw, or heard, or heeded her husband. 

One evening the prince, very unhappy and troubled, 
was wandering in an old and beautiful garden near the 
palace. The gardener was a very aged man, who had 
served the prince's great grandfather ; and when he saw 
the prince he came and bowed himself to him, and said : 

' Child ! child ! why do you look so sad — is aught the 
matter ? ' Then the prince replied, ' I am sad, old friend, 
because I have married a wife as lovely as the stars, but 
she will not speak to me, and I know not what to do. 
Night after night she leaves me for her father's house, 
and day after day she sits in mine as though turned to 
stone, and utters no word, whatever I may do or say.' 

The old man stood thinking for a moment, and then 
he hobbled off to his own cottage. A little later he came 
back to the prince with five or six small packets, which 
he placed in his hands and said : 

' To-morrow, when your bride leaves the palace, 
sprinkle the powder from one of these packets upon your 
body, and while seeing clearly, you will become yourself 
invisible. More I cannot do for you, but may all go 
well ! ' 

And the prince thanked him, and put the packets care- 
fully away in his turban. 

The next night, when Dorani left for her father's 
house in her palanquin, the prince took out a packet of 
the magic powder and sprinkled it over himself, and then 
hurried after her. He soon found that, as the old man 
had promised, he was invisible to everyone, although 
he felt as usual, and could see all that passed. He 
speedily overtook the palanquin and walked beside it to 
the scent-seller's dwelling. There it was set down, and, 
when his bride, closely veiled, left it and entered the 
house, he, too, entered unperceived. 

At the first door Dorani removed one veil ; then she 
entered another doorway at the end of a passage where 

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she removed another veil ; next she mounted the stairs, 
and at the door of the women's quarters removed a third 
veil. After this she proceeded to her own room where 
were set two large basins, one of attar of roses and one 
of water ; in these she washed herself, and afterwards 
called for food. A servant brought her a bowl of curds, 
which she ate hastily, and then arrayed herself in a robe 
of silver, and wound about her strings of pearls, while a 
wreath of roses crowned her hair. When fully dressed, 
she seated herself upon a four-legged stool over which 
was a canopy with silken curtains, these she drew 
around her, and then called out : 

' Fly, stool, to the palace of rajah Indra.' 

Instantly the stool rose in the air, and the invisible 
prince, who had watched all these proceedings with great 
wonder, seized it by one leg as it flew away, and found 
himself being borne through the air at a rapid rate. 

In a short while they arrived at the house of the 
fairy who, as I told you before, was the favourite friend 
of Dorani. The fairy stood waiting on the threshold, as 
beautifully dressed as Dorani herself was, and when the 
stool stopped at her door she cried in astonishment : 

' Why, the stool is flying all crooked to-day ! What 
is the reason of that, I wonder ? I suspect that you have 
been talking to your husband, and so it will not fly 

But Dorani declared that she had not spoken one 
word to him, and she couldn't think why the stool flew 
as if weighed down at one side. The fairy still looked 
doubtful, but made no answer, and took her seat 
beside Dorani, the prince again holding tightly one leg. 
Then the stool flew on through the air until it came to 
the palace of Indra the rajah. 

All through the night the women sang and danced 

before the rajah Indra, whilst a magic lute played of 

itself the most bewitching music ; till the prince, who sat 

watching it all, was quite entranced. Just before dawn 

ol. o 



the rajah gave the signal to cease ; and again the two 
women seated themselves on the stool, and, with the 
prince clinging to the leg, it flew back to earth, and bore 
Dorani and her husband safely to the scent-seller's shop. 

the: invisible *p^wce goes -with tke. l/vdi^s 

Here the prince hurried away by himself past Dorani's 
palanquin with its sleepy bearers, straight on to the 
palace ; and as he passed the threshold of his own rooms 
he became visible again. Then he lay down upon a 
couch and waited for Dorani's arrival. 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 


As soon as she arrived she took a seat and remained 
as silent as usual, with her head bowed on her knees. 
For a while not a sound was heard, but presently the 
prince said : 

' I dreamed a curious dream last night, and as it was 
all about you I am going to tell it you, although you 
heed nothing.' 

The girl, indeed, took no notice of his words, but in 
spite of that he proceeded to relate every single thing 
that had happened the evening before, leaving out no 
detail of all that he had seen or heard. And when he 
praised her singing — and his voice shook a little— Dorani 
just looked at him; but she said naught, though, in her 
own mind, she was rilled with wonder. ' What a 
dream ! ' she thought. ' Could it have been a dream ? 
How could he have learnt in a dream all she had done or 
said ? ' Still she kept silent ; only she looked that once 
at the prince, and then remained all day as before, with 
her head bowed upon her knees. 

When night came the prince again made himself 
invisible and followed her. The same things happened 
again as had happened before, but Dorani sang better 
than ever. In the morning the prince a second time 
told Dorani all that she had done, pretending that he had 
dreamt of it. Directly he had finished Dorani gazed at 
him, and said : 

' Is it true that you dreamt this, or were you really 
there ? ' 

1 1 was there,' answered the prince. 

1 But why do you follow me ? ' asked the girl. 

' Because,' replied the prince, ' I love you, and to be 
with you is happiness.' 

This time Dorani's eyelids quivered ; but she said no 
more, and was silent the rest of the day. However, in 
the evening, just as she was stepping into her palanquin, 
she said to the prince : 

' If you love me, prove it by not following me to-night.' 

o 2 


And so the prince did as she wished, and stayed at 

That evening the magic stool flew so unsteadily that 
they could hardly keep their seats, and at last the fairy 
exclaimed : 

' There is only one reason that it should jerk like 
this ! You have been talking to your husband 1 ' 

And Dorani replied : ' Yes, I have spoken ; oh, yes, 
I have spoken ! ' But no more would she say. 

That night Dorani sang so marvellously that at the 

end the rajah Indra rose up and vowed that she might 

ask what she would and he would give it to her. At 

" first she was silent ; but, when he pressed her, she 

answered : 

' Give me the magic lute.' 

The rajah, when he heard this, was displeased with 
himself for having made so rash a promise, because this 
lute he valued above all his possessions. But as he 
had promised, so he must perform, and with an ill grace 
he handed it to her. 

1 You must never come here again,' said he, ' for, 
once having asked so much, how will you in future be 
content with smaller gifts ? ' 

Dorani bowed her head silently as she took the lute, 
and passed with the fairy out of the great gate, where 
the stool awaited them. More unsteadily than before, it 
flew back to earth. 

When Dorani got to the palace that morning she 
asked the prince whether he had dreamt again. He 
laughed with happiness, for this time she had spoken to 
him of her own free will ; and he replied : 

1 No ; but I begin to dream now — not of what has 
happened in the past, but of what may happen in the 

That day Dorani sat very quietly, but she answered 
the prince when he spoke to her; and when evening 
fell, and jg/f^^ tJ^fch^AW"*™' ^ ^ 


sat on. Then the prince came close to her and said 
softly : 

' Are you not going to your house, Dorani ? * 

At that she rose and threw herself weeping into his 
arms, whispering gently : 

' Never again, my lord, never again would I leave 
thee ! ' 

So the prince won his beautiful bride ; and though 
they neither of them dealt any further with fairies and 
their magic, they learnt more daily of the magic of Love, 
which one may still learn, although fairy magic has fled 

[Punjabi story, Major Campbell, Ferosbepcre.] 

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Once upon a time there was a very rich and powerful 
king who, in spite of having been married several times, 
had only two daughters. 

The elder was extremely plain — she squinted and 
was hunchbacked ; but at the same time she was very 
clever and amusing, so, though at heart both spiteful and 
untruthful, she was her father's favourite. 

The younger princess, on the other hand, was both 
lovely and sweet-tempered, and those who knew her well 
could hardly say whether her charming face or pleasant 
manners were the more attractive. 

The neighbouring country was governed by a young 
emperor, who, though not much over twenty years of age, 
had shown great courage in battle, and, had he wished 
it. might very likely have conquered the whole world. 
Luckily he preferred peace to war, and occupied his time 
with trying to rule his own kingdom well and wisely. His 
people were very anxious that he should marry, and as the 
two princesses were the only ladies to be heard of of suit- 
able age and rank, the emperor sent envoys to their father's 
court to ask for the hand of one of them in marriage. 
But, as he was resolved only to marry a woman whom he 
could love and be happy with, he determined to see the 
lady himself before making up his mind. For this pur- 
pose he set out in disguise not long after the departure of 
his ambassadors, and arrived at the palace very soon after 
they did ; but as he had foolishly kept his plan secret, he 


found, when he reached the court, that they had already 
made proposals for the elder princess. 

Now the emperor might just as well have gone openly, 
for his presence soon became known ; and when the king 
heard of it he prepared to receive him royally, though of 
course he had to pretend that he had no idea who he was. 
So it was settled that the ambassadors should present 
their master under the name of one of the princes, and 
in this manner he was received by the king. 

At night there was a grand ball at which the young 
emperor was able to see the two princesses and to make 
their acquaintance. The ugly face and figure and spite- 
ful remarks of the elder displeased him so greatly that 
he felt he could not marry her even if she owned ten 
kingdoms, whilst the sweet face and gentle manners of 
the younger sister charmed him so much that he would' 
gladly have shared his throne with her had she been only 
a simple shepherdess. 

He found it very difficult to conceal his thoughts and 
to pay the elder princess the amount of attention due to 
her, though he did his best to be rjolite ; while all he saw 
or heard during the next few days only increased his love 
for her younger sister, and at last he confessed that his 
dearest wish was to make her his wife, if she and her 
father would grant his desire. 

He had commanded his ambassadors to put off their 
farewell audience for a little time, hoping that the king 
might perceive the state of his feelings ; but when it 
could be deferred no longer, he bade them propose in his 
name for the younger princess. 

On hearing this news, so different from what he had 
been led to expect, the king, who — as we have said before 
— was devoted to his elder daughter and entirely under 
her influence, could hardly contain his displeasure. 
Directly the audience was over he sent for the princess 
and told her of the insolent proposal the emperor had 
made for her sister. The princess was even more 


furious than her father, and after consulting together 
they decided to send the younger daughter to some 
distant place out of reach of the young emperor; but 
where this should be they did not quite know. However, 
at length, after they had both racked their brains to find 
a suitable prison, they fixed on a lonely castle called the 
Desert Tower, where they thought she would be quite 

Meantime, it was thought best to let the court gaieties 
go on as usual, and orders were given for all sorts of 
splendid entertainments ; and on the day that was fixed 
for carrying off the princess, the whole court was invited 
to a great hunt in the forest. 

The emperor and the young princess were counting 
the hours till this morning, which promised to be so 
delightful, should dawn. The king and his guest arrived 
together at the meeting place, but what was the surprise 
and distress of the young man at not seeing the object of 
his love amongst the ladies present. He waited anxiously, 
looking up and down, not hearing anything that the king 
said to him ; and when the hunt began and she still was 
absent, he declined to follow, and spent the whole day 
seeking her, but in vain. 

On his return, one of his attendants told him that 
some hours before he had met the princess's carriage, 
escorted by a troop of soldiers who were riding on each 
side, so that no one could get speech of her. He had fol- 
lowed them at a distance, and saw them stop at the Desert 
Tower, and on its return he noticed that the carriage was 
empty. The emperor was deeply grieved by this news. 
He left the court at once, and ordered his ambassadors 
to declare war the very next day, unless the king promised 
to set free the princess. And more than this, no sooner had 
he reached his own country than he raised a large army, 
with which he seized the frontier towns, before his enemy 
had had time to collect any troops. But, ere he quitted the 
court, he took care to write a letter to his beloved princess, 

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imploring her to have patience, and trust to him ; and 
this he gave into the hands of his favourite equerry, who 
would he knew lay down his life in his service. 

With many precautions the equerry managed to 
examine the surroundings of the tower, and at last 
discovered, not only where the princess lodged, but that 
a little window in her room looked out on a desolate plot 
full of brambles. 

Now the unhappy princess was much annoyed that 
she was not even allowed to take the air at this little 
window, which was the only one in her room. Her 
keeper was her elder sister's former nurse, a woman 
whose eyes never slept. Not for an instant could she be 
induced to stir from the side of the princess, and she 
watched her slightest movement. 

One day, however, the spy was for once busy in her 
room writing an account of the princess to her elder sister, 
and the poor prisoner seized the opportunity to lean out of 
the window. As she looked about her she noticed a man 
hidden amongst the bushes, who stepped forward as soon 
as he caught sight of her, and showed her a letter, which 
he took from his jerkin. She at once recognised him as 
one of the emperor's attendants, and let down a long 
string, to which he tied the letter. You can fancy how 
quickly she drew it up again, and luckily she had just- 
time to read it before her gaoler had finished her report 
and entered the room. 

The princess's delight was great, and next day she 
managed to write an answer on a sheet of her note book, 
and to throw it down to the equerry, who hastened to carry 
it back to his master. The emperor was so happy at 
having news of his dear princess, that he resolved, at all 
risks, to visit the Desert Tower himself, if only to see her 
for a moment. He ordered his equerry to ask leave to 
visit her, and the princess replied that she should indeed 
rejoice to see him, but that she feared that her gaoler's 
watchfulness would make his journey useless, unless he 


came during the short time when the old woman was 
writing alone in her own room. 

Naturally, the bare idea of difficulties only made the 
emperor more eager than ever. He was ready to run 
any risks, but, by the advice of the equerry, he decided 
to try cunning rather than force. In his next letter he 
enclosed a sleeping powder, which the princess managed 
to mix with her gaoler's supper, so that when the 
emperor reached the tower in the evening the princess 
appeared fearlessly at her window on hearing his signal. 
They had a long and delightful conversation, and parted 
in the fond hope that their meeting had not been 
observed. But in this they were sadly mistaken. The 
watchful eyes of the old nurse were proof against any 
sleeping draught — she had seen and heard all ; and lost 
no time in writing to report everything to her mistress. 

The news made the spiteful little hunchback furious, 
and she resolved to be cruelly revenged for the contempt 
with which the emperor had treated her. She ordered 
her nurse to pretend not to notice what might be 
passing, and meantime she had a trap made so that if 
the emperor pushed his way through the brambles at 
the foot of the tower, it would not only catch him, as if 
he were a mouse, but would let loose a number of 
poisoned arrows, which would pierce him all over. 
When it was ready, the trap was hidden amongst the 
brambles without being observed by the princess. 

That same evening the emperor hurried to the tower 
with all the impatience of love. As he came near he 
heard the princess break into a long, joyous peal of 
laughter. He advanced quickly to give the usual signal, 
when suddenly his foot trod on something, he knew not 
what. A sharp, stinging pain ran through him, and he 
turned white and faint, but, luckily, the trap had only 
opened a little way, and only a few of the arrows flew 
out. For a moment he staggered, and then fell to the 
ground covered with blood. 

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Had he been alone he would have died very shortly, 
but his faithful squire was close at hand, and carried his 
master off to the wood where the rest of his escort were 
waiting for him. His wounds were bound up, and some 
poles were cut to make a rough litter, and, almost 
unconscious, the emperor was borne away out of his 
enemy's country to his own palace. 

All this time the princess was feeling very anxious. 
She had been whiling away the hours before this meeting 
by playing with a little pet monkey, which had been 
making such funny faces that, in spite of her troubles, 
she had burst into the hearty laugh overheard by the 
emperor. But by-and-by she grew restless, waiting for 
the signal which never came, and, had she dared, would 
certainly have rebelled when her gaoler, whom she 
believed to be fast asleep, ordered her to go to bed at 

A fortnight passed, which was spent in great anxiety 
by the poor girl, who grew thin and weak with the 
uncertainty. At the end of this period, when the nurse 
went to her room one morning as usual in order to write 
her daily report, she carelessly left the key in the door. 
This was perceived by the princess, who turned it upon 
her so quickly and quietly that she never found out she 
was locked in till she had finished writing, and got up to 
seek her charge. 

Finding herself free, the princess flew to the window, 
and to her horror saw the arrows lying about amongst 
the bloodstained brambles. Distracted with terror she 
slipped down the stairs and out of the tower, and ran for 
some time along a path, when with great good luck she 
met the husband of her own nurse, who had only just 
heard of her imprisonment, and was on his way to try 
to find out whether he could serve her. The princess 
begged him to get her some men's clothes while she 
awaited him in a little wood close by. The good man 
was overjoyed to be of use, and started at once for the 

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a moment her grief was so great that she nearly 
betrayed herself. Then, calling all her courage to her 
aid, she announced that she was a doctor, and that if 
they would leave him in her charge for a few days she 
would promise to cure him. 

Now, in order to make a good appearance at court 
the new doctor resolved to have an entire suit made of 
pale blue satin. She bought the richest, most splendid 
stuff to be had in the shops, and summoned a tailor to 
make it for her, engaging to pay him double if he would 
finish the work in two hours. Next she went to the 
market, where she bought a fine mule, bidding her 
servant see that its harness was adorned with trappings 
of blue satin also. 

Whilst all was being made ready the princess asked 
the woman in whose house she lived whether she knew 
any of the emperor's attendants, and found to her satis- 
faction that her cousin was his majesty's chief valet. 
The doctor then bade the woman inform everyone she 
met that on hearing of the emperor's illness a celebrated 
surgeon had hastened to attend him, and had undertaken 
to cure him entirely ; declaring himself prepared to be 
burnt alive in case of failure. 

The good woman, who loved nothing better than a 
bit of gossip, hurried to the palace with her news. Her 
story did not lose in telling. The court physicians were 
very scornful about the new-comer, but the emperor's 
attendants remarked that as, in spite of their remedies, 
his majesty was dying before their eyes, there could be 
no harm in consulting this stranger. 

So the lord chamberlain begged the young doctor to 
come and prescribe for the royal patient without delay ; 
and the doctor sent a message at once, that he would do 
himself the honour to present himself at the palace, and 
he lost no time in mounting his mule and setting out. 
As the people and soldiers saw him ride past they cried 

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1 Here comes the Satin Surgeon ! Look at the Satin 
Surgeon ! Long live the Satin Surgeon ! ' And, on 
arriving, he was announced by this name, and at once 
taken to the sick room of the dying man. 

The emperor was lying with his eyes closed, and his 
face as white as the pillow itself ; but directly he heard 
the new-comer's voice, he looked up and smiled, and 
signed that he wished the new doctor to remain near 
him. Making a low bow, the Satin Surgeon assured the 
emperor that he felt certain of curing his malady, but 
insisted that everyone should leave the room except 
the emperor's favourite equerry. He then dressed the 
wounds with the magic salve which the boy had given 
him, and it so relieved the emperor's pain that he slept 
soundly all that night. 

When morning broke, the courtiers and doctors 
hurried to the emperor's chamber, and were much 
surprised to find him free of pain. But they were 
promptly ordered out of the room by the Satin Surgeon, 
who renewed the dressings with such good results that 
next morning the emperor was nearly well, and able 
to leave his bed. As he grew stronger, his thoughts 
dwelt more and more on the cause of all his sufferings, 
and his spirits grew worse as his health grew better. 
The face and voice of his new doctor reminded him of 
the princess who had, he imagined, betrayed him, and 
caused him such dreadful torture ; and, unable to bear 
the thought, his eyes filled with tears. 

The doctor noticed his sad countenance and did all 
he could to enliven his patient with cheerful talk and 
amusing stories, till at last he won the emperor's con- 
fidence and heard all the story of his love for a lady 
who had treated him cruelly, but whom, in spite of 
everything, he could not help loving. The Satin Surgeon 
listened with sympathy, and tried to persuade the 
emperor that possibly the princess was not so much to 
blame as might appear ; but, eager though the sick man 

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was to believe this, it took a long while to persuade him 
of it. At length a day came when the emperor was 
nearly well, and for the last time the doctor dressed the 
wounds with the precious salve. Then, both patient and 
surgeon, being wearied out with something they could 
not explain, fell asleep and slept for hours. 

Early next morning, the princess, having decided to 
resume her own clothes which she had brought with 
her in a bag, dressed herself with great care and put on 
all her jewels so as to make herself look as lovely as 
possible. She had just finished when the emperor 
awoke, feeling so strong and well that he thought he 
must be dreaming, nor could he believe himself to be 
awake when he saw the princess draw aside his curtains. 

For some minutes they gazed at each other, unable 
to speak, and then they only uttered little gasps of joy 
and thankfulness. By-and-by the princess told him 
the whole story of her adventures since their last in- 
terview at the Desert Tower ; and the emperor, weak as 
he was, threw himself at her feet with vows of love and 
gratitude, without ever giving a thought to the fact that 
the household and court physicians were awaiting their 
summons in the ante-room. 

The emperor, anxious to prove how much he owed to 
the Satin Surgeon, opened his door himself, and great 
was everyone's surprise and joy at seeing him in such 
perfect health. Like good courtiers, they hastened in to 
praise and compliment the Satin Surgeon, but what was 
their astonishment on finding that he had disappeared, 
leaving in his place the loveliest princess in the whole 

' Whilst thanking the surgeon for his miraculous 
cure, you might at the same time do homage to your 
empress,' observed the emperor. He wished to have the 
marriage celebrated the same day, but the princess 
declared that she must wait to get her father's permission 

OL. P 


Messengers were therefore instantly despatched to 
the neighbouring capital, and soon returned with the 
king's consent, for he had lately discovered all the 
mischief caused by his elder daughter. 

The spiteful princess was so furious at the failure of 
her plans that she took to her bed, and died in a fit of 
rage and jealousy. No one grieved for her, and the 
king, being tired of the fatigues of government, gave up 
his crown to his younger daughter ; so the two kingdoms 
henceforth became one. 

[From the Cabinet des Fees.] 

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Once there lived a certain king who understood the 
language of all birds and beasts and insects. This know- 
ledge had of course been given him by a fairy godmother ; 
but it was rather a troublesome present, for he knew 
that if he were ever to reveal anything he had thus 
learned he would turn into a stone. How he managed 
to avoid doing so long before this story opens I cannot 
say, but he had safely grown up to manhood, and married 
a wife, and was as happy as monarchs generally are. 

This king, I must tell you, was a Hindu ; and when 
a Hindu eats his food he has a nice little place on the 
ground freshly plastered with mud, and he sits in the 
middle of it with very few clothes on — which is quite 
a different way from ours. 

Well, one day the king was eating his dinner in just 
such a nice, clean, mud-plastered spot, and his wife was 
sitting opposite to wait upon him and keep him company. 
As he ate he dropped some grains of rice upon the 
ground, and a little ant, who was running about seeking 
a living, seized upon one of the grains and bore it off 
towards his hole. Just outside the king's circle this ant 
met another ant, and the king heard the second one 

' Oh, dear friend, do give me that grain of rice, and 
get another one for yourself. You see my boots are so 
dirty that, if I were to go upon the king's eating place, 
I should defile it, and I can't do that, it would be so very 



But the owner of the grain of rice only replied : 

' If you want rice go and get it. No one will notice 
your dirty boots ; and you don't suppose that I am going 
to carry rice for all our kindred ? ' 

Then the king laughed. 

The queen looked at herself up and down, but she 
could not see or feel anything in her appearance to make 
the king laugh, so she said : 

' What are you laughing at ? ' 

1 Did I laugh ? ' replied the king. 

* Of course you did,' retorted the queen ; ' and if you 
think that I am ridiculous I wish you would say so, 
instead of behaving in that stupid way ! What are you 
laughing at ? ' 

* I'm not laughing at anything,' answered the king. 

* Very well, but you did laugh, and I want to know why.' 

* Well, I'm afraid I can't tell you,' said the king. 

' You must tell me,' replied the queen impatiently. 
1 If you laugh when there's nothing to laugh at you must 
be ill or mad. What is the matter ? ' 

Still the king refused to say, and still the queen 
declared that she must and would know. For days the 
quarrel went on, and the queen gave her husband no 
rest, until at last the poor man was almost out of his 
wits, and thought that, as life had become for him hardly 
worth living while this went on, he might as well tell 
her the secret and take the consequences. 

* But,' thought he, ' if I am to become a stone, I am 
not going to lie, if I can help it, on some dusty highway, 
to be kicked here and there by man and beast, flung at 
dogs, be used as the plaything of naughty children, and 
become generally restless and miserable. I will be a 
stone at the bottom of the cool river, and roll gently 
about there until I find some secure resting-place where 
I can stay for ever.' 

So he told his wife that if she would ride with him 

to the ^^^^^M&^)W What he lmd 


laughed at. She thought he was joking, and laughingly 
agreed ; their horses were ordered and they set out. 

On the way they came to a fine well beneath the shade 

I3\e, King Ima^s at the ^hi^ap^^ 

of some lofty, wide-spreading trees, and the king proposed 
that they should get off and rest a little, drink some of 
the cool water, and then pass on. To this the queen 


consented ; so they dismounted and sat down in the 
shade by the well -side to rest. 

It happened that an old goat and his wife were 
browsing in the neighbourhood, and, as the king and 
queen sat there, the nanny goat came to the well's brink 
and peering over saw some lovely green leaves that 
sprang in tender shoots out of the side of the well. 

' Oh ! ' cried she to her husband, ' come quickly and 
look. Here are some leaves which make my mouth 
water ; come and get them for me ! ' 

Then the billy goat sauntered up and looked over, 
and after that he eyed his wife a little crossly. 

' You expect me to get you those leaves, do you ? I 
suppose you don't consider how in the world I am to 
reach them ? You don't seem to think at all ; if you did 
you would know that if I tried to reach those leaves 
I should fall into the well and be drowned ! ' 

4 Oh,' cried the nanny goat, ' why should you fall in ? 
Do try and get them ! ' 

' 1 am not going to be so silly,' replied the billy 

But the nanny goat still wept and entreated. 

' Look here,' said her husband, ' there are plenty of 
fools in the world, but I am not one of them. This silly 
king here, -because he can't cure his wife of asking 
questions, is going to throw his life away. But I know 
how to cure you of your follies, and I'm going to.' 

And with that he butted the nanny goat so severely 
that in two minutes she was submissively feeding some- 
where else, and had made up her mind that the leaves in 
the well were not worth having. 

Then the king, who had understood every word, 
laughed once more. 

The queen looked at him suspiciously, but the king 
got up and walked across to where she sat. 

' Are you still determined to find out what I was 
laughing ^jflffifyf'itotfto&ftt 


' Quite/ answered the queen angrily. 

' Because, 5 said the king, tapping his leg' with his 
riding whip, ' I've made up my mind not to tell you, and 
moreover, I have made up my mind to stop you mention- 
ing the subject any more.' 

' What do you mean? ' asked the queen nervously. 

* Well,' replied the king, ' I notice that if that goat is 
displeased with his wife, he just butts her, and that seems 
to settle the question ■' 

' Do you mean to say you would beat me ? ' cried the 

' I should be extremely sorry to have to do so,' replied 
the king; 'but I have to persuade you to go home 
quietly, and to ask no more silly questions when I say 
I cannot answer them. Of course, if you will persist, 
why ' 

And the queen went home, and so did the king ; and 
it is said that they are both happier and wiser than ever 

[Punjabi story, Major Campbell, Feroshepore.] 

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In the midst of a sandy desert, somewhere in Asia, the 
eyes of travellers are refreshed hy the sight of a high 
mountain covered with beautiful trees, among which 
the glitter of foaming waterfalls may be seen in the 
sunlight. In that clear, still air it is even possible to 
hear the song of the birds, and smell of the flowers; 
but though the mountain is plainly inhabited — for here 
and there a white tent is visible — none of the kings or 
princes who pass it on the road to Babylon or Baalbec 
ever plunge into its forests — or, if they do, they never 
come back. Indeed, so great is the terror caused by the 
evil reputation of the mountain that fathers on their 
death-beds pray their sons never to try to fathom its 
mysteries. But in spite of its ill-fame, a certain number 
of young men every year announce their intention of 
visiting it and, as we have said, are never seen again. 

Now there was once a powerful king who ruled over a 
country on the other side of the desert, and, when dying, 
gave the usual counsel to his seven sons. Hardly, 
however, was he dead than the eldest, who succeeded to 
the throne, announced his intention of hunting in the 
enchanted mountain. In vain the old men shook their 
heads and tried to persuade him to give up his mad 
scheme. All was useless ; he went, but did not return ; 
and in due time the throne was filled by his nest 

And so it happened to the other five ; but when the 

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youngest became king, and he also proclaimed a hunt in 
the mountain, a loud lament was raised in the city. 

' Who will reign over us when you are dead ? For 
dead you surely will be/ cried they. ( Stay with us, and 
we will make you happy.' And for a while he listened 
to their prayers, and the land grew rich and prosperous 
under his rule. But in a few years the restless fit again 
took possession of him, and this time he would hear 
nothing. Hunt in that forest he would, and calling his 
friends and attendants round him, he set out one morning 
across the desert. 

They were riding through a rocky valley, when a deer 
sprang up in front of them and bounded away. The 
king instantly gave chase, followed by his attendants ; 
but the animal ran so swiftly that they never could get 
up to it, and at length it vanished in the depths of the 

Then the young man drew rein for the first time, and 
looked about him. He had left his companions far 
behind, and, glancing back, he beheld them entering some 
tents, dotted here and there amongst the trees. For 
himself, the fresh coolness of the woods was more 
attractive to him than any food, however delicious, and 
for hours he strolled about as his fancy led him. 

By-and-by, however, it began to grow dark, and he 
thought that the moment had arrived for them to start 
for the palace. So, leaving the forest with a sigh, he 
made his way down to the tents, but what was his horror 
to find his men lying about, some dead, some dying. 
These were past speech, but speech was needless. It 
was as clear as day that the wine they had drunk con- 
tained deadly poison. 

' I am too late to help you, my poor friends,' he said, 
gazing at them sadly ; ' but at least I can avenge you ! 
Those that have set the snare will certainly return to 
see to its working. I will hide myself somewhere, and 
discover who they are ! ■ 


Near the spot where he stood he noticed a large 
walnut tree, and into this he climbed. Night soon fell, 
and nothing broke the stillness of the place ; but with the 
earliest glimpse of dawn a noise of galloping hoofs was 

Pushing the branches aside the young man beheld 
a youth approaching, mounted on a white horse. On 
reaching the tents the cavalier dismounted, and closely 
inspected the dead bodies that lay about them. Then, 
one by one, he dragged them to a ravine close by and 
threw them into a lake at the bottom. While he was 
doing this, the servants who had followed him led away 
the horses of the ill-fated men, and the courtiers were 
ordered to let loose the deer, which was used as a decoy, 
and to see that the tables in the tents were covered as 
before with food and wine. 

Having made these arrangements he strolled slowly 
through the forest, but great was his surprise to come 
upon a beautiful horse hidden in the depths of a thicket. 

I There was a horse for every dead man,' he said to 
himself. ' Then whose is this ? ' 

' Mine ! ' answered a voice from a walnut tree close 
by. ' Who are you that lure men into your power and 
then poison them? But you shall do so no longer. 
Eeturn to your house, wherever it may be, and we will 
fight before it ! ' 

The cavalier remained speechless with anger at these 
words ; then with a great effort he replied : 

I I accept your challenge. Mount, and follow me. 
I am Zoulvisia.' And, springing on his horse, he was out 
of sight so quickly that the. king had only time to notice 
that "light seemed to flow from himself and his steed, 
and that the hair under his helmet was like liquid gold. 

Clearly, the cavalier was a woman. But who could 
she be? Was she queen of all the queens? Or was 
she chief of a band of robbers ? She was neither : only 
a beautiful maiden. rf by M j cmsoi 

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Wrapped in these reflections, he remained standing 
beneath the walnut tree, long after horse and rider had 
vanished from sight. Then he awoke with a start, to 
remember that he must find the way to the house of his 
enemy, though where it was he had no notion. How- 
ever, he took the path down which the rider had come, 
and walked along it for many hours till he came to three 
huts side by side, in each of which lived an old fairy and 
her sons. 

The poor king was by this time so tired and hungry 
that he could hardly speak, but when he had drunk some 
milk, and rested a little, he was able to reply to the 
questions they eagerly put to him. 

' I am going to seek Zoulvisia,' said he ; * she has 
slain my brothers and many of my subjects, and I mean 
to avenge them.' 

He had only spoken to the inhabitants of one house, 
but from all three came an answering murmur. 

' What a pity we did not know ! Twice this day has 
she passed our door, and we might have kept her 

But though their words were brave their hearts were 
not, for the * mere thought of Zoulvisia made them 

'Forget Zoulvisia, and stay with us,' they all said, 
holding out their hands ; ' you shall be our big brother, 
and we will be your little brothers.' But the king would 

Drawing from his pocket a pair of scissors, a razor 
and a mirror, he gave one to each of the old fairies, 
saying : 

' Though I may not give up my vengeance I accept 
your friendship, and therefore leave you these three 
tokens. If blood should appear on the face of either 
know that my life is in danger, and, in memory of our 
sworn brotherhood, come to my aid.' 

'We will come/ they answered. And the king 


mounted his horse and set out along the road they 
showed him. 

By the light of the moon he presently perceived a 
splendid palace, but, though he rode twice round it, he 
could find no door. He was considering what he should 
do next, when he heard the sound of loud snoring, which 
seemed to come from his feet. Looking down, he beheld 
an old man lying at the bottom of a deep pit, just oittside 
the walls, with a lantern by his side. 

1 Perhaps he may be able to give me some counsel,' 
thought the king ; and, with some difficulty, he scrambled 
into the pit and laid his hand on the shoulder of the 

' Are you a bird or a snake that you can enter here ? ' 
asked the old man, awaking with a start. But the king 
answered that he was a mere mortal, and that he sought 

* Zoulvisia ? The world's curse ? ' replied he, gnashing 
his teeth. * Out of all the thousands she has slain I am 
the only one who has escaped, though why she spared 
me only to condemn me to this living death I cannot 

1 Help me if you can,' said the king. And he told the 
old man his story, to which he listened intently. 

* Take heed then to my counsel,' answered the old 
man. ' Know that every day at sunrise Zoulvisia 
dresses herself in her jacket of pearls, and mounts the 
steps of her crystal watch-tower. From there she can see 
all over her lands, and behold the entrance of either man 
or demon. If so much as one is detected she utters 
such fearful cries that those who hear her die of fright. 
But hide yourself in a cave that lies near the foot of 
the tower, and plant a forked stick in front of it ; then, 
when she has uttered her third cry, go forth boldly, and 
look up at the tower. And go without fear, for you will 
have broken her power.' 

Word for word the king did as the old man had 

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^Dms jtt&c&ttt of tl\a Crystal Xo^ae* 

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bidden him, and when he stepped forth from the cave, 
their eyes met. 

' You have conquered me,' said Zoulvisia, ' and are 
worthy to be my husband, for you are the first man who 
has not died at the sound of my voice ! ' And letting down 
her golden hair, she drew up the king to the summit of 
the tower as with a rope. Then she led him into the 
hall of audience, and presented him to her household. 

1 Ask of me what you will, and I will grant it to you,' 
whispered Zoulvisia with a smile, as they sat together 
on a mossy bank by the stream. And the king prayed her 
to set free the old man to whom he owed his life, and to 
send him back to his own country. 

' I have finished with hunting, and with riding about 
my lands,' said Zoulvisia, the day that they were 
married. ' The care of providing for us all belongs hence- 
forth to you.' And turning to her attendants, she bade 
them bring the horse of fire before her. 

' This is your master, my steed of flame,' cried she ; 
* and you will serve him as you have served me.' And 
kissing him between his eyes, she placed the bridle in the 
hand of her husband. 

The horse looked for a moment at the young man, 
and then bent his head, while the king patted his neck 
and smoothed his tail, till they felt themselves old friends. 
After this he mounted to do Zoulvisia' s bidding, but 
before he started she gave him a case of pearls containing 
one of her hairs, which he tucked into the breast of his 

He rode along for some time, without seeing any 
game to bring home for dinner. Suddenly a fine stag 
started up almost under his feet, and he at once gave 
chase. On they sped, but the stag twisted and turned 
so that the king had no chance of a shot till they reached 
a broad river, when the animal jumped in and swam 
across. The king fitted his cross-bow with a bolt, and 

Digitized oy Microsoft <& 


took aim, but though he succeeded in wounding the stag, 
it contrived to gain the opposite bank, and in his excite- 
ment he never observed that the case of pearls had fallen 
into the water. 

The stream, though deep, was likewise rapid, and the 
box was swirled along miles, and miles, and miles, till it 
was washed up in quite another country. Here it was 
picked up by one of the water-carriers belonging to the 
palace, who showed it to the king. The workmanship of 
the case was so curious, and the pearls so rare, that the 
king could not make up his mind to part with it, but he 
gave the man a good price and sent him away. Then, 
summoning his chamberlain, he bade him find out its 
history in three days, or lose his head. 

But the answer to the riddle, which puzzled all the 
magicians and wise men, was given by an old woman, 
who came up to the palace and told the chamberlain 
that, for two handfuls of gold, she would reveal the 

Of course the chamberlain gladly gave her what she 
asked, and in return she informed him that the case and 
the hair belonged to Zoulvisia. 

' Bring her hither, old crone, and you shall have gold 
enough to stand up in,' said the chamberlain. And 
the old woman answered that she would try what she 
could do. 

She went back to her hut in the middle of the 
forest, and standing in the door-way, whistled softly. 
Soon the dead leaves on the ground began to move and 
to rustle, and from underneath them there came a long 
train of serpents. They wriggled to the feet of the witch, 
who stooped down and patted their heads, and gave each 
one some milk in a red earthen basin. When they had 
all finished, she whistled again, and bade two or three 
coil themselves round her arms and neck, while she 
turned one into a cane and another into a whip. Then 

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she took a stick, and on the river bank changed it into 
a raft, and seating herself comfortably, she pushed off 
into the centre of the stream. 

All that day she floated, and all the next night, and 
towards sunset the following evening she found herself 
close to Zoulvisia's garden, just at the moment that 
the king, on the horse of flame, was returning from 

' Who are you ? ' he asked in surprise ; for old women 
travelling on rafts were not common in that country. 
' Who are you, and why have you come here ? ' 

' I am a poor pilgrim, my son,' answered she, ' and 
having missed the caravan, I have wandered foodless for 
many days through the desert, till at length I reached the 
river. There I found this tiny raft, and to it I committed 
myself, not knowing if I should live or die. But since 
you have found me, give me, I pray you, bread to eat, 
and let me lie this night by the dog who guards your 
door ! ' 

This piteous tale touched the heart of the young man, 
and he promised that he would bring her food, and that 
she should pass the night in his palace. 

' But mount behind me, good woman,' cried he, ' for 
you have walked far, and it is still a long way to the 
palace.' And as he spoke he bent down to help her, but 
the horse swerved on one side. 

And so it happened twice and thrice, and the old 
witch guessed the reason, though the king did not. 

1 I fear to fall off,' said she ; ' but as your kind heart 
pities my sorrows, ride slowly, and lame as I am, I think 
I can manage to keep up/ 

At the door he bade the witch to rest herself, and he 
would fetch her all she needed. But Zoulvisia his wife 
grew pale when she heard whom he had brought, and 
besought him to feed the old woman and send her away, 
as she would cause mischief to befall them. 

The king laughed at her fears, and answered lightly : 

OL. Q 


1 Why, one would think she was a witch to hear 
you talk ! And even if she were, what harm could she 
do to us ? ' And calling to the maidens he bade them 
carry her food, and to let her sleep in their chamber. 

Now the old woman was very cunning, and kept the 
maidens awake half the night with all kinds of strange 
stories. Indeed, the next morning, while they were 
dressing their mistress, one of them suddenly broke into 
a laugh, in which the others joined her. 

1 What is the matter with you ? ' asked Zoulvisia. 
And the maid answered that she was thinking of a droll 
adventure told them the evening before by the new- 

' And, oh, madam ! ' cried the girl, * it may be that 
she is a witch, as they say ; but I am sure she never 
would work a spell to harm a fly ! And as for her tales, 
they would pass many a dull hour for you, when my 
lord was absent ! ' 

So, in an evil hour, Zoulvisia consented that the 
crone should be brought to her, and from that moment 
the two were hardly ever apart. 

One day the witch began to talk about the young 
king, and to declare that in all the lands she had visited 
she had seen none like him. 

' It was so clever of him to guess your secret so as to 
win your heart/ said she. ' And of course he told you 
his, in return ? ' 

* No, I don't think he has got any,' returned 

'Not got any secrets?' cried the old woman 
scornfully. ' That is nonsense ! Every man has a 
secret, which he always tells to the woman he loves. 
And if he has not told it to you, it is that he does not 
love you ! ' 

These words troubled Zoulvisia mightily, though she 
would not confess it to the witch. But the next time 

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she found herself alone with her husband, she began to 
coax him to tell her in what lay the secret of his strength. 
For a long while he put her off with caresses, but when 
she would be no longer denied, he answered : 

' It is my sabre that gives me strength, and day and 
night it lies by my side. But now that I have told you, 
swear upon this ring, that I will give you in exchange for 
yours, that you will reveal it to nobody.' And Zoulvisia 
swore ; and instantly hastened to betray the great news 
to the old woman. 

Four nights later, when all the world was asleep, the 
witch softly crept into the king's chamber and took the 
sabre from his side as he lay sleeping. Then, opening 
her lattice, she flew on to the terrace and dropped the 
sword into the river. 

The next morning everyone was surprised because 
the king did not, as usual, rise early and go off to hunt. 
The attendants listened at the keyhole and heard the 
sound of heavy breathing, but none dared enter, till 
Zoulvisia pushed past. And what a sight met their gaze ! 
There lay the king almost dead, with foam on his mouth, 
and eyes that were already closed. They wept, and they 
cried to him, but no answer came. 

Suddenly a shriek broke from those who stood hind- 
most, and in strode the witch, with serpents round her 
neck and arms and hair. At a sign from her they flung 
themselves with a hiss upon the maidens, whose flesh 
was pierced with their poisonous fangs. Then turning 
to Zoulvisia, she said : 

1 1 give you your choice — will you come with me, or 
shall the serpents slay you also ? ' And as the terrified 
girl stared at her, unable to utter one word, she seized 
her by the arm and led her to the place where the raft 
was hidden among the rushes. When they were both 
on board she took the oars, and they floated down the 
stream till they had reached the neighbouring country, 
where Zoulvisia was sold for a sack of gold to the king. 


Now, since the young man had entered the three 
huts on his way through the forest, not a morning had 
passed without the sons of the three fairies examining 
the scissors, the razor and the mirror, which the young 
king had left them. Hitherto the surfaces of all three 
things had been bright and undimmed, but on this 
particular morning, when they took them out as usual, 
drops of blood stood on the razor and the scissors, while 
the little mirror was clouded over. 

• Something terrible must have happened to our 
little brother/ they whispered to each other, with awe- 
struck faces ; ' we must hasten to his rescue ere it be too 
late/ And putting on their magic slippers they started 
for the palace. 

The servants greeted them eagerly, ready to pour 
forth all they knew, but that was not much ; only that 
the sabre had vanished, none knew where. The new- 
comers passed the whole of the day in searching for it, 
but it could not be found, and when night closed in, they 
were very tired and hungry. But how were they to get 
food ? The king had not hunted that day, and there was 
nothing for them to eat. The little men were in despair, 
when a ray of the moon suddenly lit up the river beneath 
the walls. 

' How stupid ! Of course there are fish to catch,' 
cried they; and running down to the bank they soon 
succeeded in landing some fine fish, which they cooked 
on the spot. Then they felt better, and began to look 
about them. 

Further out, in the middle of the stream, there was 
a strange splashing, and by-and-by the body of a huge 
fish appeared, turning and twisting as if in pain. The 
eyes of all the brothers were fixed on the spot, when the 
fish leapt in the air, and a bright gleam flashed through 
the night. ' The sabre ! ' they shouted, and plunged into 
the stream, and with a sharp tug, pulled out the sword, 
while the ^ffj^fjffiffcf^^Y its struggles. 


Swimming back with the sabre to land, they carefully 
dried it in their coats, and then carried it to the palace 
and placed it on the king's pillow. In an instant colour 
came back to the waxen face, and the hollow cheeks filled 
out. The king sat up, and opening his eyes he said : 

' Where is Zoulvisia ? ' 

' That is what we do not know/ answered the little 
men ; ' but now that you are saved you will soon find 
out.' And they told him what had happened since 
Zoulvisia had betrayed his secret to the witch. 

( Let me go to my horse/ was all he said. But when 
he entered the stable he could have wept at the sight of 
his favourite steed, which was nearly in as sad a plight 
as his master had been. Languidly he turned his head 
as the door swung back on its hinges, but when he 
beheld the king he rose up, and rubbed his head against 

' Oh, my poor horse ! How much cleverer were you 
than I ! If I had acted like you I should never have 
lost Zoulvisia ; but we will seek her together, you and I.' 

For a long while the king and his horse followed 
the course of the stream, but nowhere could he learn 
anything of Zoulvisia. At length, one evening, they both 
stopped to rest by a cottage not far from a great city, 
and as the king was lying outstretched on the grass, 
lazily watching his horse cropping the short turf, an old 
woman came out with a wooden bowl of fresh milk, 
which she offered him. 

He drank it eagerly, for he was very thirsty, and 
then laying down the bowl, began to talk to the woman, 
who was delighted to have someone to listen to her 

( You are in luck to have passed this way just now/ 
said she, ' for in five days the king holds his wedding 
banquet. Ah ! but the bride is unwilling, for all her 
blue eyes and her golden hair ! And she keeps by her 

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side a cup of poison, and declares that she will swallow 
it rather than become his wife. Yet he is a handsome 
man too, and a proper husband for her — more than she 
could have looked for, having come no one knows whither, 
and bought from a witch ' 

The king started. Had he found her after all ? His 
heart beat violently, as if it would choke him ; but he 
gasped out : 

' Is her name Zoulvisia ? ' 

' Ay, so she says, though the old witch But what 

ails you ? ' she broke off, as the young man sprang to his 
feet and seized her wrists. 

' Listen to me,' he said. ' Can you keep a secret ? ' 

' Ay,' answered the old woman again, ' if I am paid 
for it.' 

' Oh, you shall be paid, never fear — as much as your 
heart can desire ! Here is a handful of gold : you shall 
have as much again if you will do my bidding.' The old 
crone nodded her head. 

'Then go and buy a dress such as ladies wear at 
court, and manage to get admitted into the palace, and 
into the presence of Zoulvisia. When there, show her 
this ring, and after that she will tell you what to do.' 

So the old woman set off, and clothed herself in a 
garment of yellow silk, and wrapped a veil closely round 
her head. In this dress she walked boldly up the palace 
steps behind some merchants whom the king had sent 
for to bring presents for Zoulvisia. 

At first the bride would have nothing to say to any of 
them ; but on perceiving the ring, she suddenly grew as 
meek as a lamb. And thanking the merchants for their 
trouble, she sent them away, and remained alone with 
her visitor. 

' Grandmother,' asked Zoulvisia, as soon as the door 
was safely shut, 'where is the owner of this ring?' 

' In my cottage/ answered the old woman, ' waiting 
for orders from you.' 

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' Tell him to remain there for three days ; and now 
go to the king of this country, and say that you have 
succeeded in bringing me to reason. Then he will let 
me alone and will cease to watch me. On the third day 
from this I shall be wandering about the garden near 
the river, and there your guest will find me. The rest 
concerns myself only/ 

The morning of the third day dawned, and with the 
first rays of the sun a bustle began in the palace ; for 
that evening the king was to marry Zoulvisia. Tents 
were being erected of fine scarlet cloth, decked with 
wreaths of sweet-smelling white flowers, and in them 
the banquet was spread. When all was ready a pro- 
cession was formed to fetch the bride, who had been 
wandering in the palace gardens since daylight, and 
crowds lined the way to see her pass. A glimpse of her 
dress of golden gauze might be caught, as she passed 
from one flowery thicket to another ; then suddenly the 
multitude swayed, and shrank back, as a thunderbolt 
seemed to flash out of the sky to the place where Zoul- 
visia was standing. Ah ! but it was no thunderbolt, only 
the horse of fire ! And when the people looked again, it 
was bounding away with two persons on its back. 

Zoulvisia and her husband both learnt how to keep 
happiness when they had got it ; and that is a lesson 
that many men and women never learn at all. And 
besides, it is a lesson which nobody can teach, and that 
every boy and girl must learn for themselves. 

[From Contes Armdniens. Par Louis MaclerJ 

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Once, in former times, there lived in a certain city in 
India a poor oil-seller, called Dena, who never could 
keep any money in his pockets ; and when this story 
begins he had borrowed from a banker, of the name of 
L6na, the sum of one hundred rupees ; which, with the 
interest Lena always charged, amounted to a debt of 
three hundred rupees. Now Dena was doing a very bad 
business, and had no money with which to pay his debt, 
so Lena was very angry, and used to come round to 
Dena's house every evening and abuse him until the 
poor man was nearly worried out of his life. Lena 
generally fixed his visit just when Dena's wife was 
cooking the evening meal, and would make such a scene 
that the poor oil-seller and his wife and daughter quite 
lost their appetites, and could eat nothing. This went 
on for some weeks, till, one day, Dena said to himself 
that he could stand it no longer, and that he had better 
run away ; and, as a man cannot fly easily with a wife 
and daughter, he thought he must leave them behind. 
So that evening, instead of turning into his house as 
usual after his day's work, he just slipped out of the city 
without knowing very well where he was going. 

At about ten o'clock that night Dena came to a well 
by the wayside, near which grew a giant peepul tree ; 
and, as he was very tired, he determined to climb it, and 
rest for a little before continuing his journey in the 
morning. Up he went and curled himself so comfortably 
amongst the great branches that, overcome with weariness, 

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he fell fast asleep. Whilst he slept, some spirits, who 
roam about such places on certain nights, picked up the 
tree and new away with it to a far-away shore where 
no creature lived, and there, long before the sun rose, 
they set it down. Just then the oil-seller awoke ; but 
instead of rinding himself in the midst of a forest, he 
was amazed to behold nothing but waste shore and 
wide sea, and was dumb with horror and astonishment. 
Whilst he sat up, trying to collect his senses, he began 
to catch sight here and there of twinkling, flashing lights, 
like little fires, that moved and sparkled all about, and 
wondered what they were. Presently he saw one so 
close to him that he reached out his hand and grasped 
it, and found that it was a sparkling red stone, scarcely 
smaller than a walnut. He opened a corner of his loin- 
cloth and tied the stone in it ; and by-and-by he got 
another, and then a third, and a fourth, all of which he 
tied up carefully in his cloth. At last, just as day was 
breaking, the tree rose, and, flying rapidly through the 
air, was deposited once more by the well where it had 
stood the previous evening. 

When Dena had recovered a little from the fright 
which the extraordinary antics of the tree had caused him, 
he began to thank Providence that he was alive, and, as 
his love of wandering had been quite cured, he made his 
way back to the city and to his own house. Here he 
was met and soundly scolded by his wife, who assailed 
him with a hundred questions and reproaches. As soon 
as she paused for breath, Dena replied : 

' I have only this one thing to say, just look what I 
have got ! ' And, after carefully shutting all the doors, he 
opened the corner of his loin-cloth and showed her the 
four stones, which glittered and flashed as he turned them 
over and over. 

' Pooh ! ' said his wife, ' the silly pebbles ! If it was 
something to eat, now, there'd be some sense in them ; 
but what's the good of such things ? ' And she turned 


away with a sniff, for it had happened that the night 
before, when Lena had come round as usual to storm at 
Dena, he had been rather disturbed to find that his 
victim was from home, and had frightened the poor 
woman by his threats. Directly, however, he heard that 
Dena had come back, Lena appeared in the doorway. 
For some minutes he talked to the oil-seller at the top of 
his voice, until he was tired, then Dena said : 

' If your honour would deign to walk into my humble 
dwelling, I will speak.' 

So Lena walked in, and the other, shutting as before 
all the doors, untied the corner of his loin-cloth and 
showed him the four great flashing stones. 

' This is all,' said he, ' that I have in the world to set 
against my debt, for, as your honour knows, I haven't 
a penny, but the stones are pretty ! ' 

Now Lena looked and saw at once that these were 
magnificent rubies, and his mouth watered for them ; 
but as it would never do to show what was in his mind, 
he went on : 

1 'What do I care about your stupid stones ? It is 
my money I want, my lawful debt which you owe me, 
and I shall get it out of you yet somehow or another, or 
it will be the worse for you/ 

To all his reproaches Dena could answer nothing, 
but sat with his hands joined together beseechingly, 
asking for patience and pity. At length Lena pretended 
that, rather than have a bad debt on his hand, he would 
be at the loss of taking the stones in lieu of his money ; 
and, whilst D6na nearly wept with gratitude, he wrote 
out a receipt for the three hundred rupees ; and, 
wrapping the four stones in a cloth, he put them into his 
bosom, and went off to his house. 

' How shall I turn these rubies into money ? ' thought 
L6na, as he walked along ; * I daren't keep them, for they 
are of great value, and if the rajah heard that I had them 
he would probably put me into prison on some pretence 

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and seize the stones and all else that I have as well. 
But what a bargain I have got ! Four rubies worth a 
king's ransom, for one hundred rupees ! Well, well, I must 
take heed not to betray my secret.' And he went on 
making plans. Presently he made up his mind what to 
do, and, putting on his cleanest clothes, he set off to tbe 
house of the chief wazir, whose name was Musli, and, 
after seeking a private audience, he brought out the four 
rubies and laid them before him. 

The wazir' s eyes sparkled as he beheld the splendid 

* Fine, indeed,' murmured he. ' I can't buy them at 
their real value ; but, if you like to take it, I will give you 
ten thousand rupees for the four.' 

To this the banker consented gratefully; and, 
handing over the stones in exchange for the rupees, he 
hurried home, thanking his stars that he had driven such 
a reasonable bargain and obtained such an enormous 

After L6na had departed the wazir began casting 
about in his mind what to do with the gems ; and very 
soon determined that the best thing to do was to present 
them to the rajah, whose name was Kahre\ Without 
losing a moment, he went that very day to the palace, 
and sought a private interview with the rajah ; and 
when he found himself alone with his royal master, he 
brought the four jewels and laid them before him. 

'Oh, ho!' said the rajah, * these are priceless gems, 
and you have done well to give them to me. In return 
I give you and your heirs the revenues of ten villages.' 

Now the wazir was overjoyed at these words, but 
only made his deepest obeisance ; and, whilst the king 
put the rubies into his turban, hurried away beaming with 
happiness at the thought that for ten thousand rupees 
he had become lord of ten villages. The rajah was also 
equally pleased, and strolled off with his new purchases to 
the women's quarters and showed them to the queen, who 


was nearly out of her mind with delight. Then, as she 
turned them over and over in her hands, she said : ' Ah ! 
if I had eight more such gems, what a necklace they 
would make ! Get me eight more of them or I shall die ! ' 

1 Most unreasonable of women,' cried the rajah, 
* where am I to get eight more such jewels as these ? 
I gave ten villages for them, and yet you are not 
satisfied ! ' 

' What does it matter ? ' said the rani ; ' do you want 
me to die ? Surely you can get some more where these 
came from ? ' And then she fell to weeping and wailing 
until the rajah promised that in the morning he would 
make arrangements to get some more such rubies, and 
that if she would be patient she should have her desire. 

In the morning the rajah sent for the wazir, and said 
that he must manage to get eight more rubies like those 
he had brought him the day before, ' and if you don't I 
shall hang you,' cried the rajah, for he was very cross. 
The poor wazir protested in vain that he knew not where 
to seek them ; his master would not listen to a word he 

' You must,' said he ; ' the rani shall not die for the 
want of a few rubies 1 Get more where those came from.' 

The wazir left the palace, much troubled in mind, 
and bade his slaves bring Lena before him. 'Get me 
eight more such rubies as those you brought yesterday,' 
commanded the wazir, directly the banker was shown 
into his presence. ' Eight more, and be quick, or I am a 
dead man.' 

' But how can I ? ' wailed Lena ; ' rubies like those 
don't grow upon bushes ! ' 

' Where did you get them from ? ' asked the wazir. 

' From Dena, the oil-seller,' said the banker. 

' Well, send for him and ask him where he got them,' 
answered the wazir. ' I am not going to hang for twenty 
Denas ! ' And more slaves were sent to summon Dena. 

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When Dena arrived he was closely questioned, and 
then all three started to see the rajah, and to him Dena 
told the whole story. 

' What night was it that you slept in the peepul tree ? ' 
demanded the rajah. 

1 1 can't remember,' said Dena ; ' but my wife will 

Then De*na's wife was sent for, and she explained 
that it was on the last Sunday of the new moon. 

Now everyone knows that it is on the Sunday of the 
new moon that spirits have special power to play pranks 
upon mortals. So the rajah forbade them all, on pain of 
death, to say a word to anyone ; and declared that, on 
the next Sunday of the new moon, they four — Kahre, 
Musli, Lena and Dena — would go and sit in the peepul 
tree and see what happened. 

The clays dragged on to the appointed Sunday, and 
that evening the four met secretly, and entered the forest. 
They had not far to go before they reached the peepul tree, 
into which they climbed as the rajah had planned. At 
midnight the tree began to sway, and presently it moved 
through the air. 

' See, sire,' whispered D£na, * the tree is flying ! ' 

1 Yes, yes,' said the rajah, 'you have told the truth. 
Now sit quiet, and we shall see what happens.' 

Away and away flew the tree with the four men 
clinging tightly to its branches, until at last it was set 
down by the waste sea-shore where a great wide sea came 
tumbling in on a desert beach. Presently, as before, 
they began to see little points of light that glistened 
like fires all around them. Then Dena thought to 
himself : 

' Think ! last time I only took four that came close 
to me, and I got rid of all my debt in return. This time 
I will take all I can get and be rich ! ' 

* If I got ten thousand rupees for four stones,' thought 
L6na, ' I will gather forty now, for myself,. and become so 



wealthy that they will probably make me a wazir at 
least ! ' 

' For four stones I received ten villages,' Musli was 
silently thinking ; * now I will get stones enough to 
purchase a kingdom, become a rajah, and employ wazirs 
of my own 1 ' 

"suddenly the tree r*ose ifl a&alrb and fleiD cuiaau » 

And Kahre" thought : ' What is the good of only getting 
eight stones? Why, here are enough to make twenty 
necklaces ; and wealth means power ! ' 

Full of avarice and desire, each scrambled down from 
the tree, spread his cloth, and darted hither and thither 
picking up the precious jewels, looking the while over his 
shoulder to see whether his neighbour fared better than 
he. So engrossed were they in the business of gathering 
wealth that the dawn came upon them unawares ; and 

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suddenly the tree rose up again and flew away, leaving 
them upon the sea-shore staring after it, each with his 
cloth heavy with priceless jewels. 

Morning broke in the city, and great was the con- 
sternation in the palace when the chamberlains declared 
that the rajah had gone out the evening before and had 
not returned. 

' Ah ! ' said one, ' it is all right ! Musli wazir will 
know where he is, for it was he who was the king's 

Then they went to the wazir' s house, and there they 
learnt that the wazir had left it the evening before and 
had not returned ; ( but,' said a servant, ' L6na the 
banker will know where he is, for it was with him that 
Musli went.' 

Then they visited the house of Lena, and there they 
learnt that the banker had gone out the evening before, 
and that he too had not returned ; but the porter told 
them that he was accompanied by Dena the oil-seller, so 
he would know where they were. 

So they departed to Dena's house, and Dena's wife 
met them with a torrent of reproaches and wailings, for 
Dena too had gone off the evening before to Lena's house 
and had not returned. 

In vain they waited, and searched — never did any of 
the hapless four return to their homes ; and the confused 
tale which was told by Dena's wife was the only clue to 
their fate. 

To this day, in that country, when a greedy man 
has overreached himself, and lost all in grasping at too 
much, folks say : 

' All has he lost !— neither D6na, nor L£na, nor Musli, 
nor Kahre remain.' And not five men in a hundred 
know how the proverb began, nor what it really signifies. 

[Major Campbell, Feroshepore.] 
OL. R 


In a very hot country, far away to the east, was a 
beautiful little lake where two wild ducks made their 
home, and passed their days swimming and playing in 
its clear waters. They had it all to themselves, except 
for a turtle, who was many years older than they were, 
and had come there before them, and, luckily, instead of 
taking a dislike to the turtle, as so often happens when 
you have only one person to speak to, they became great 
friends, and spent most of the day in each other's 

All went on smoothly and happily till one summer, 
when the rains failed and the sun shone so fiercely that 
every morning there was a little less water in the lake 
and a little more mud on the bank. The water-lilies 
around the edge began to droop, and the palms to hang 
their heads, and the ducks' favourite swimming place, 
where they could dive the deepest, to grow shallower 
and shallower. At length there came a morning when 
the ducks looked at each other uneasily, and before 
nightfall they had whispered that if at the end of two 
days rain had not come, they must fly away and seek 
a new home, for if they stayed in their old one, which 
they loved so much, they would certainly die of thirst. 

Earnestly they watched the sky for many hours 
before they tucked their heads under their wrings and 
fell asleep from sheer weariness, but not the tiniest 
cloud was to be seen covering the stars that shone so 
big and brilliant, and hung so low in the heavens that 
you felt as if you could touch them. So. when the 

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morning broke, they made up their minds that they 
must go and tell the turtle of their plans, and bid him 

They found him comfortably curled up on a pile of 
dead rushes, more than half asleep, for he was old, and 
could not venture out in the heat as he once used. 

' Ah ! here you are,' he cried ; ' I began to wonder if 
I was ever going to see you again, for, somehow, though 
the lake has grown smaller, I seem to have grown 
weaker, and it is lonely spending all day and night by 
oneself ! * 

' Oh ! my friend,' answered the elder of the two ducks, 
* if you have suffered we have suffered also. Besides, 
I have something to tell you, that I fear will cause you 
greater pain still. If we do not wish to die of thirst 
we must leave this place at once, and seek another 
where the sun's rays do not come. My heart bleeds 
to say this, for there is nothing — nothing else in the 
world — which would have induced us to separate from 

The turtle was so astonished as well as so distressed 
at the duck's speech that for a moment he could find 
no words to reply. But when he had forced back his 
tears, he said in a shaky voice : 

* Hosv can you think that I am able to live without 
you, when for so long you have been my only friends ? 
If you leave me, death will speedily put an end to my 

' Our sorrow is as great as yours/ answered the other 
duck, ' but what can we do ? And remember that if we 
are not here to drink the water, there will be the more 
for you ! If it had not been for this terrible misfortune, 
be sure that nothing would have parted us from one 
whom we love so dearly.' 

' My friends,' replied the turtle, ' water is as necessary 
to me as to you, and if death stares in your faces, it 
stares in min^^g^n, jfedWc$- a11 th ° 2 yearS 


we have passed together, do not, I beseech you, leave 
me to perish here alone ! Wherever you may go take 
me with you ! ' 

There was a pause. The ducks felt wretched at the 
thought of abandoning their old comrade, yet, at the 
same time, how could they grant his prayer ? It seemed 
quite impossible, and at length one of them spoke : 

'Oh, how can I find words to refuse ? ' cried he, 
' yet how can we do what you ask? Consider that, 
like yours, our bodies are heavy and our feet small. 
Therefore, how could we walk with you over mountains 
and deserts, till we reached a land where the sun's rays 
no longer burn? Why, before the day was out we 
should all three be dead of fatigue and hunger ! No, 
our only hope lies in our wings — and, alas ! you cannot 

' No, I cannot fly, of course/ answered the turtle, 
with a sigh. ' But you are so clever, and have seen so 
much of the world — surely you can think of some plan?' 
And he fixed his eyes eagerly on them. Now, when the 
ducks saw how ardently the turtle wished to accompany 
them their hearts were touched, and making a sign to 
their friend that they wished to be alone they swam 
out into the lake to consult together. Though he could 
not hear what they said, the turtle could watch, and the 
half-hour that their talk lasted felt to him like a hundred 
years. At length he beheld them returning side by side, 
and so great was his anxiety to know his fate he almost 
died from excitement before they reached him. 

( We hope we have found a plan that may do for 
you,' said the big duck gravely, ' but we must warn you 
that it is not without great danger, especially if you are 
not careful to follow our directions.' 

' How is it possible that I should not follow your 
directions when my life and happiness are at stake ? ' 
asked the turtle joyfully. ( Tell me what they are, and 
I will Fo^t^bej gje^trfuflj^ 


' Well, then/ answered the duck, * whilst we are 
carrying you through the air, in the manner that we 
have fixed upon, you must remain as quiet as if } T ou 
were dead. However high above the earth you may find 
yourself, you must not feel afraid, nor move your feet 
nor open your mouth. No matter what you see or hear, 
it is absolutely needful for you to be perfectly still, or 
I cannot answer for the consequences.' 

' I will be absolutely obedient/ answered the turtle, 
* not only on this occasion but during all my life ; and 
once more I promise faithfully not to move head or foot, 
to fear nothing, and never to speak a word during the 
whole journey.' 

This being settled, the ducks swam about till they 
found, floating in the lake, a good stout stick. This they 
tied to their necks with some of the tough water-lily 
roots, and returned as quickly as they could to the turtle. 

' Now/ said the elder duck, pushing the stick gently 
towards his friend, ' take this stick firmly in your mouth, 
and clo not let it go till we have set you down on earth 

The turtle did as he was told, and the ducks in their 
turn seized the stick by the two ends, spread their wings 
and mounted swiftly into the air, the turtle hanging 
between them. 

For a while all went well. They swept across 
valleys, over great mountains, above ruined cities, but no 
lake was to be seen anywhere. Still, the turtle had faith 
in his friends, and bravely hung on to the stick. 

At length they saw in the distance a small village, 
and very soon they were passing over the roofs of the 
houses. The x^eople were so astonished at the strange 
sight, that they all — men, women and children — ran out 
to see it, and cried to each other : 

' Look ! look ! behold a miracle ! Two ducks sup- 
porting a turtle ! Was ever such a thing known before ! ' 
Indeed, so great was the surprise that men left their 


ploughing and women their weaving in order to add their 
voices to their friends'. 

The ducks flew steadily on, heeding nothing of the 
commotion below ; but not so the turtle. At first he kept 
silence, as he had been bidden to do, but at length the 
clamour below proved too much for him, and he began 
to think that everyone was envying him the power of 
travelling through the air. In an evil moment he forgot 
the promises he had made so solemnly, and opened his 
mouth to reply, but, before he could utter a word, he 
was rushing so swiftly through the air that he quickly 
became unconscious, and in this state was dashed to 
pieces against the side of a house. Then the ducks let 
fall after him the stick that had held up their friend, and 
which was of no further use. Sadly they looked at each 
other and shook their heads. 

' We feared it would end so,' said they, ' yet, perhaps, 
he was right after all. Certainly this death was better 
than the one which awaited him.' 

[From Les Contes et Fables Indiennes. Par M. Galland, 1724.] 

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Once upon a time there lived by herself, in a city, an old 
woman who was desperately poor. One day she found 
that she had only a handful of flour left in the house, 
and no money to buy more nor hope of earning it. 
Carrying her little brass pot, very sadly she made her 
way down to the river to bathe and to obtain some water, 
thinking afterwards to come home and make herself an 
unleavened cake of what flour she had left; and after 
that she did not know what was to become of her. 

Whilst she was bathing she left her little brass pot 
on the river bank covered with a cloth, to keep the inside 
nice and clean ; but when she came up out of the river 
and took the cloth off to till the pot with water, she saw 
inside it the glittering folds of a deadly snake. At once 
she popped the cloth again into the mouth of the pot 
and held it there ; and then she said to herself : 

1 Ah, kind death ! I will take thee home to my house, 
and there I will shake thee out of my pot and thou shalt 
bite me and I will die, and then all my troubles will be 

With these sad thoughts in her mind the poor old 
woman hurried home, holding her cloth carefully in the 
mouth of the pot ; and when she got home she shut all 
the doors and windows, and took away the cloth, and 
turned the pot upside down upon her hearthstone. What 
was her surprise to find that, instead of the deadly snake 
which she expected to see fall out of it, there fell out 
with a rattle and a clang a most magnificent necklace of 
flashing jewe©|g/f/ Z £ 


For a few minutes she could hardly think or speak, 
but stood staring ; and then with trembling hands she 
picked the necklace up, and folding it in the corner of 
her veil, she hurried off to the king's hall of public 

' A petition, king ! ' she said. ' A petition for thy 
private ear alone ! ' And when her prayer had been 
granted, and she found herself alone with the king, she 
shook out her veil at his feet, and there fell from it 
in glittering coils the splendid necklace. As soon as 
the king saw it he was filled with amazement and 
delight ; and the more he looked at it the more he felt 
that he must possess it at once. So he gave the old 
woman five hundred silver pieces for it, and put it 
straightway into his pocket. Away she w T ent full of 
happiness ; for the money that the king had given her 
was enough to keep her for the rest of her life. 

As soon as he could leave his business the king 
hurried off and showed his wife his prize, with which 
she was as pleased as he, if not more so ; and, as soon 
as they had finished admiring the wonderful necklace, 
they locked it up in the great chest where the queen's 
jewellery was kept, the key of which hung always round 
the king's neck. 

A short while afterwards, a neighbouring king sent a 
message to say that a most lovely girl baby had been 
born to him ; and he invited his neighbours to come to 
a great feast in honour of the occasion. The queen told 
her husband that of course they must be present at the 
banquet, and she would wear the new necklace which he 
had given her. They had only a short time to prepare 
for the journey, and at the last moment the king went to 
the jewel chest to take out the necklace for his wife to 
wear, but he could see no necklace at all, only, in its 
place, a fat little boy baby crowing and shouting. The 
king was so astonished that he nearly fell backwards, 
but presently he found his voice, and called for his wife 

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so loudly that she came running, thinking that the 
necklace must at least have been stolen. 

' Look here ! look ! ' cried the king, ' haven't we 
always longed for a son ? And now heaven has sent us 
one ! ' 

'What do you mean?' cried the queen. 'Are you 
mad ? ' 

' Mad? no, I hope not,' shouted the king, dancing in 
excitement round the open chest. ' Come here, and 
look ! Look what we've got instead of that necklace 1 ' 

Just then the baby let out a great crow of joy, as 
though he would like to jump up and dance with the 
king ; and the queen gave a cry of surprise, and ran up 
and looked into the chest. 

' Oh ! ' she gasped, as she looked at the baby, ' what 
a darling ! Where could he have come from ? ' 

1 I'm sure I can't say,' said the king ; ' all I know is 
that we locked up a necklace in the chest, and when I 
unlocked it just now there was no necklace, but a baby, 
and as fine a baby as ever was seen.' 

By this time the queen had the baby in her arms. 
' Oh, the blessed one 1 ' she cried, ' fairer ornament for 
the bosom of a queen than any necklace that ever was 
wrought. Write,' she continued, ' write to our neighbour 
and say that we cannot come to his feast, for we have 
a feast of our own, and a baby of our own ! Oh, happy 
day 1' 

So the visit was given up ; and, in honour of the new 
baby, the bells of the city, and its guns, and its trumpets, 
and its people, small and great, had hardly any rest for 
a week ; there was such a ringing, and banging, and 
blaring, and such fireworks, and feasting, and rejoicing, 
and merry-making, as had never been seen before. 

A few years went by ; and, as the king's boy baby 
and his neighbour's girl baby grew and throve, the two 
kings arranged that as soon as they were old enough 
they should marry ; and so, with much signing of papers 


and agreements, and wagging of wise heads, and stroking 
of grey beards, the compact was made, and signed, and 
sealed, and lay waiting for its fulfilment. And this too 
came to pass ; for, as soon as the prince and princess 
were eighteen years of age, the kings agreed that it was 
time for the wedding ; and the young prince journeyed 
away to the neighbouring kingdom for his bride, and 
was there married to her with great and renewed re- 

Now, I must tell you that the old woman who had 
sold the king the necklace had been called in by him to 
be the nurse of the young prince ; and although she 
loved her charge dearly, and was a most faithful servant, 
she could not help talking just a little, and so, by-and-by, 
it began to be rumoured that there was some magic about 
the young prince's birth ; and the rumour of course had 
come in due time to the ears of the parents of the 
princess. So now that she was going to be the wife of 
the prince, her mother (who was curious, as many other 
people are) said to her daughter on the eve of the 
ceremony : 

'Eemember that the first thing you must do is 
to find out what this story is about the prince. And, in 
order to do it, you must not speak a word to him what- 
ever he says until he asks you why you are silent ; then 
you must ask him what the truth is about his magic 
birth ; and until he tells you, you must not speak to him 

And the princess promised that she would follow her 
mother's advice. 

Therefore when they were married, and the prince 
spoke to his bride, she did not answer him. He could 
not think what was the matter, but even about her old 
home she would not utter a word. At last he asked 
why she would not speak ; and then she said : 

' Tell me the secret of your birth.' 

Then t^fl^^v^^^^spleased, and 



although she pressed him sorely he would not tell her, 
but always reply : 

' If I tell you, you will repent that ever you asked 

For several months they lived together ; and it was 
not such a happy time for either as it ought to have been, 
for the secret was still a secret, and lay between them 
like a cloud between the sun and the earth, making what 
should be fair, dull and sad. 

At length the prince could bear it no longer ; so he 
said to his wife one day : * At midnight I will tell you my 
secret if you still wish it ; but you will repent it all your 
life.' However, the princess was overjoyed that she had 
succeeded, and paid no attention to his warnings. 

That night the prince ordered horses to be ready 
for the princess and himself a little before midnight. He 
placed her on one, and mounted the other himself, and 
they rode together down to the river to the place where 


the old woman had first found the snake in her brass 
pot. There the prince drew rein and said sadly : ' Do 
you still insist that I should tell you my secret ? ' And 
the princess answered * Yes.' * If I do,' answered the 
prince, ' remember that you will regret it all your life/ 
But the princess only replied ' Tell me ! ' 

' Then,' said the prince, * know that I am the son of 
the king of a far country, but by enchantment I was 
turned into a snake.' 

The word ' snake ' was hardly out of his lips when he 
disappeared, and the princess heard a rustle and saw a 
ripple on the water ; and in the faint moonlight she beheld 
a snake swimming into the river. Soon it disappeared 
and she was left alone. In vain she waited with beating 
heart for something to happen, and for the prince to come 
back to her. Nothing happened and no one came ; only 
the wind mourned through the trees on the river bank, 
and the night birds cried, and a jackal howled in the dis- 
tance, and the river flowed black and silent beneath her. 

In the morning they found her, weeping and dis- 
hevelled, on the river bank ; but no word could they learn 
from her or from anyone as to the fate of her husband. 
At her wish they built on the river bank a little house 
of black stone ; and there she lived in mourning, with 
a few servants and guards to watch over her. 

A long, long time passed by, and still the princess 
lived in mourning for her prince, and saw no one, and 
went nowhere away from her house on the river bank 
and the garden that surrounded it. One morning, when 
she woke up, she found a stain of fresh mud upon the 
carpet. She sent for the guards, who watched outside 
the house day and night, and asked them who had 
entered her room while she was asleep. They declared 
that no one could have entered, for they kept such 
careful watch that not even a bird could fly in without 
their knowledge; but none of them could explain the 
stain of mud. The next morning, again, the princess 

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found another stain of wet mud, and she questioned 
everyone most carefully ; but none could say how the mud 
came there. The third night the princess determined to 
lie awake herself and watch ; and, for fear that she might 
fall asleep, she cut her ringer with a penknife and rubbed 
salt into the cut, that the pain of it might keep her from 
sleeping. So she lay awake, and at midnight she saw a 
snake come wriggling along the ground with some mud 
from the river in its mouth ; and when it came near the 
bed, it reared up its head and dropped its muddy head on 
the bedclothes. She was very frightened, but tried to 
control her fear, and called out : 

' Who are you, and what do you here ? ' 

And the snake answered : 

' I am the prince, your husband, and I am come to 
visit you.' 

Then the princess began to weep ; and the snake 
continued : 

' Alas ! did I not say that if I told you my secret you 
would repent it ? and have you not repented ? ' 

' Oh, indeed ! ' cried the poor princess, ' I have 
repented it, and shall repent it all my life ! Is there 
nothing I can do ? ' 

And the snake answered : 

' Yes, there is one thing, if you dared to do it.' 

( Only tell me/ said the princess, ' and I will do any- 
thing ! ' 

' Then,' replied the snake, ' on a certain night you 
must put a large bowl of milk and sugar in each of the 
four corners of this room. All the snakes in the river 
will come out to drink the milk, and the one that leads 
the way will be the queen of the snakes. You must 
stand in her way at the door, and say : " Oh, Queen of 
Snakes, Queen of Snakes, give me back my husband ! " 
and perhaps she will do it. But if you are frightened, 
and do not stop her, you will never see me again/ And 
he glided *™y DjgJtJzed fey Mfcroso/M 


On the night of which the snake had told her, the 
princess got four large bowls of milk and sugar, and put 
one in each corner of the room, and stood in the doorway 
waiting. At midnight there was a great hissing and 
rustling from the direction of the river, and presently the 
ground appeared to be alive with horrible writhing forms 
of snakes, whose eyes glittered and forked tongues 
quivered as they moved on in the direction of the 
princess's house. Foremost among them was a huge, 
repulsive scaly creature that led the dreadful procession. 
The guards were so terrified that they all ran away ; but 
the princess stood in the doorway, as white as death, and 
with her hands clasped tight together for fear she should 
scream or faint, and fail to do her part. As they came 
closer and saw her in the way, all the snakes raised their 
horrid heads and swayed them to and fro, and looked at 
her wUh wicked beady eyes, while their breath seemed to 
poison the very air. Still the princess stood firm, and, 
when the leading snake was within a few feet of her, she 
cried : ' Oh, Queen of Snakes, Queen of Snakes, give me 
back my husband ! ' Then all the rustling, writhing 
crowd of snakes seemed to whisper to one another * Her 
husband? her husband?' But the queen of snakes 
moved on until her head was almost in the princess's 
face, and her little eyes seemed to flash fire. And still 
the princess stood in the doorway and never moved, but 
cried again : ' Oh, Queen of Snakes, Queen of Snakes, give 
me back my husband ! ' Then the queen of snakes 
replied : ' To-morrow you shall have him — to-morrow ! '* 
When she heard these words and knew that she had 
conquered, the princess staggered from the door, and 
sank upon her bed and fainted. As in a dream, she saw 
that her room was full of snakes, all jostling and squabbling 
over the bowls of milk until it was finished. And then 
they went away. 

In the morning the princess was up early, and took 
off the mourning dress which she had worn for five 

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^ivtzK or jS^akls Give n& back, nv HU5E>and_ 

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whole years, and put on gay and beautiful clothes. And 
she swept the house and cleaned it, and adorned it 
with garlands and nosegays of sweet flowers and ferns, 
and prepared it as though she were making ready for her 
wedding. And when night fell she lit up the woods and 
gardens with lanterns, and spread a table as for a feast, 
and lit in the house a thousand wax candles. Then she 
waited for her husband, not knowing in what shape he 
would appear. And at midnight there came striding from 
the river the prince, laughing, but with tears in his eyes ; 
and she ran to meet him, and threw herself into his arms, 
crying and laughing too. 

So the prince came home ; and the next day they two 
w T ent back to the palace, and the old king wept with joy 
to see them. And the bells, so long silent, were set 
a-ringing again, and the guns firing, and the trumpets 
blaring, and there was fresh feasting and rejoicing. 

And the old woman who had been the prince's nurse 
became nurse to the prince's children — at least she was 
called so ; though she was far too old to do anything for 
them but love them. Yet she still thought that she was 
useful, and knew that she was happy. And happy, 
indeed, were the prince and princess, who in due time 
became king and queen, and lived and ruled long and 

[Major Campbell, Feroshepore.] 

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Thexe were, once upon a time, a king and queen of 
Denmark who had an only son, a handsome and clever 
lad. When he was eighteen, his father, the old king, fell 
very ill, and there was no hope that he would ever get 
well again. The queen and the prince were very unhappy,, 
for they loved him dearly ; but though they did all they 
could, he only grew worse and worse, and, one day, when 
the summer had come and the birds were singing, he 
raised his head and, taking a long look out of the window, 
fell back dead. 

During many weeks the queen could hardly eat or 
sleep, so sorely did she grieve for him, and the prince 
feared that she would die also if she went on weeping ; 
so he begged her to go with him to a beautiful place 
that he knew of on the other side of the forest, and 
after some time she consented. The prince was over- 
joyed, and arranged that they should set off early nest 

They travelled all day, only stopping now and then 
to rest, and already the queen began to be better and to 
take a little interest in the things she saw. Just as the 
evening was coming on they entered the forest. Here it 
was quite dark, for the trees grew so close together that 
the sun could not shine through them, and very soon they 
lost the path, and wandered helplessly about wondering 
what they should do. 

' If we sleep in this dreadful place,' said the queen, 

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who was tired and frightened, ' the wild beasts will eat 
us.' And she began to cry. 

' Cheer up, mother/ answered her son, ' I have a 
feeling that luck is coming to us.' And at the next turn- 
ing they came to a little house, in the window of which 
a light was burning. 

' Didn't I tell you so ? ' cried the prince. ' Stay here a 
moment and I will go and see if I can get food and shelter 
for the night.' And away he ran as fast as he could go, 
for by this time they were very hungry, as they had 
brought very little food with them and had eaten up every 
scrap ! When one takes a long journey on foot one does 
not like to have too much to carry. 

The prince entered the house and looked about him, 
going from one room to the other, but seeing nobody and 
finding nothing to eat. At last, as he was going sorrow- 
fully away, he caught sight of a sword and shirt of mail 
hanging on the wall in an inner room, with a piece of 
paper fastened under them. On the paper was some 
writing, which said that whoever wore the coat and 
carried the sword would be safe from all danger. 

The prince was so delighted at the sight thai he 
forgot how hungry he was, and instantly slipped on the 
coat of chain armour under his tunic, and hid the sword 
under his cloak, for he did not mean 'to say anything 
about what he had found. Then he went back to his 
mother, who was waiting impatiently for him. 

1 What have you been doing all this time ? ' she asked 
angrily. ' I thought you had been killed by robbers ! ' 

' Oh, just looking round,' he answered ; * but though 
I searched everywhere I could find nothing to eat.' 

' I am very much afraid that it is a robbers' den,' said 
the queen. ' We had better go on, hungry though we 

' No, it isn't ; but still, we had better not stay here/ 
replied the prince, ' especially as there is nothing to eat. 
Perhaps we shall find another house.' 

ol. s 


They went on for some time, until, sure enough, they 
came to another house, which also had a light in the 

1 We'll go in here/ said the prince. 

: No, no ; I am afraid ! ' cried the queen. ' We shall 
be attacked and killed ! It is a robbers' den : I am sure 
it is r 

' Yes, it looks like it ; but we can't help that,' said 
her son. ' We have had nothing to eat for hours, and 
I'm nearly as tired as you. 5 

The poor queen was, indeed, quite worn out ; she 
could hardly stand for fatigue, and in spite of her terror 
was half anxious to be persuaded. 

' And there's going to be a storm/ added the prince ; 
who feared nothing now that he had the sword. 

So they went into the house, where they found 
nobody. In the first room stood a table laid for a meal, 
with all sorts of good things to eat and drink, though 
some of the dishes were empty. 

' Well, this looks nice,' said the prince, sitting down 
and helping himself to some delicious strawberries piled 
on a golden dish, and some iced lemonade. Never had 
anything tasted so nice ; but, all the same, it was a robbers' 
den they had come to, and the robbers, who had only 
just dined, had gone out into the forest to see whom they 
could rob. 

When the queen and the prince could eat no more 
they remembered that they were very tired, and the 
prince looked about till he discovered a comfortable bed, 
with silken sheets, standing in the next room. 

' You get into bed, mother/ he said, ' and I'll lie down 
by the side. Don't be alarmed ; you can sleep quite safely 
till the morning.' And he lay down with his sword in 
his hand, and kept watch until the day began to break ; 
then the queen woke up and said she was quite rested 
and ready to start again. 

' First I'll go out into the forest and see if I can find 

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our road,' said the prince. 'And while I'm gone you 
light the fire and make some coffee. We must eat a 
good breakfast before we start.' 

-Che "Robber^ chief catches tHe Queers 

And he ran off into the wood. 

After he had gone the queen lit the fire, and then 


had gone the queen lit the fire, 

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thought she would like to see what was in the other 
rooms ; so she went from one to another, and presently 
came to one that was very prettily furnished, with lovely 
pictures on the walls, and pale blue curtains and soft 
yellow cushions and comfortable easy chairs. As she 
was looking at all these things, suddenly a trap-door 
opened in the floor, and the robber-chief came out of the 
hole and seized her ankles. The queen almost died of 
fright, and shrieked loudly, then fell on her knees and 
begged him to spare her life. 

' Yes, if you will promise me two things,' he replied ; 
' first that you will take me home to your country and 
let me be crowned king instead of your son ; and 
secondly, that you will kill him in case he should try to 
take the throne from me — if you will not agree to this 
I shall kill you.' 

' Kill my own son I ' gasped the queen, staring at him 
in horror. 

' You need not do that exactly,' said the robber. 
1 When he returns, just lie on the bed and say that you 
have been taken ill, and add that you have dreamed 
that in a forest, a mile away, there are some beautiful 
apples. If you could only get some of these you would 
be well again, but if not you will die.' 

The queen shuddered as she listened. She was fond 
of her son, but she was a terrible coward ; and so in the 
end she agreed, hoping that something would occur to 
save the prince. She had hardly given her promise when 
a step was heard, and the robber hastily hid himself. 

' Well, mother,' cried the prince as he entered, ' I 
have been through the forest and found the road, so we 
will start directly we have had some breakfast.' 

1 Oh, I feel so ill ! ' said the queen. ' I could not 
walk a single step ; and there is only one thing that will 
cure me.' 

' What is that ? ' asked the prince. 

' I dreamed,' answered the queen, in a faint voice, 

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4 that, a mile away, there is a forest where the most 
beautiful apples grow, and if I could have some of them 
I should soon be well again.' 

' Oh ! but dreams don't mean anything,' said the 
prince. ' There is a magician who lives near here. I'll 
go to him and ask for a spell to cure you.' 

' My dreams always mean something,' said the queen, 
shaking her head. ' If I don't get any apples I shall 
die,' She did not know why the robber wanted to send 
the prince to this particular forest, but as a matter of 
fact it was full of wild animals who would tear to pieces 
any traveller who entered it. 

' Well, I'll go,' answered the prince. ' But I really 
must have some breakfast first ; I shall walk all the 

' If you do not hurry you will find me dead when you 
come back,' murmured the queen fretfully. She thought 
her son was not nearly anxious enough about her, and 
by this time she had begun to believe that she really was 
as ill as she had said. 

When the prince had eaten and drunk, he set off, and 
soon came to the forest, and sure enough it was full of 
lions and tigers, and bears and wolves, who came rushing 
towards him ; but instead of springing on him and 
tearing him to pieces, they lay down on the ground and 
licked his hands. He speedily found the tree with the 
apples which his mother wanted, but the branches were 
so high he could not reach them, and there was no way 
of climbing up the smooth trunk. 

1 It is no use after all, I can't get up there/ he said to 
himself. ' What am I to do now ? ' 

But, as he turned away his sword chanced to touch 
the tree, and immediately two apples fell down. He 
picked them up joyfully, and was going away when a 
little dog came out of a hill close by, and running up to 
him, began ^^l^^hey^ghm^ 


I What do you want, little clog ? ' asked the prince, 
stooping down to pat his soft black head. 

The dog ran to a hole that was in the hill and sat 
there looking out, as much as to say: 'Come along in 
with me.' 

' I may as well go and see what is in there,' 
thought the prince, and he went over to the hill. But 
the hole was so small that he could not get through it, 
so he thrust his sword into it, and immediately it became 

' Ha, ha ! ' he chuckled ; ' it's worth something to 
have a sword like that.' And he bent down and crept 
through the hole. 

The first thing he beheld, when he entered a room at 
the very end of a dark passage, was a beautiful princess, 
who was bound by an iron chain to an iron pillar. 

' What evil fate brought you here ? ' he asked in 
surprise ; and the lady answered : 

' It isn't much use for me to tell you lest my lot 
becomes yours.' 

I I am not afraid of that. Tell me who you are and 
what) has brought you here,' begged the prince. 

' My story is not long,' she said, smiling sadly. ' I am 
a princess from Arabia, and twelve robbers who dwell 
in this place are fighting among themselves as to which 
shall have me to wife.' 

' Shall I save you ? ' asked the prince. And she 
answered : 

' Yes ; but you can't do it. To begin with, how could 
you break the chain I am bound with ? ' 

' Oh, that's easy enough,' said he, taking out his sword ; 
and directly it touched the chain the links fell apart and 
the princess was free. 

' Come ! ' said the prince, taking her hand. But she 
drew back. 

' No, I dare not ! ' she cried. ' If we should meet the 
robbers in the passage they would kill us both.' 

n the passage they would kill us I 

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1 Not they ! ' said the prince, brandishing his sword. 
1 But how long have you been here ? ' he added quickly. 

' About twenty years, I think/ said the princess, 
reckoning with her fingers. 

' Twenty years i ' exclaimed the prince. ' Then you 
had better shut your eyes, for when you have been sitting 
there so long it might hurt you to go too suddenly into 
the daylight. So you are the Princess of Arabia, whose 
beauty is famous throughout all the world ! I, too, am 
a prince.' 

' Will you not come back to Arabia and marry me, 
now you have saved my life ? ' asked the princess. 
' Even if my father is living still, he must be old, and 
after his death you can be king.' 

* No,' replied the prince, 1 1 cannot do that — I must 
live and die in my own country. But at the end of a 
year I will follow you and marry you.' And that was all 
he would say. 

Then the princess took a heavy ring from her finger 
and put it on his. Her father's and her mother's names 
were engraved in it, as well as her own, and she asked 
him to keep it as a reminder of his promise. 

' I will die before I part from it,' said the prince. 
' And if at the end of a year I am still living, I will come. 
I believe I have heard that at the other side of this forest 
there is a port from which ships sail to Arabia. Let us 
hasten there at once.' 

Hand in hand they set off through the forest, and 
when they came to the port they found a ship just ready 
to sail. The princess said good-bye to the prince, and 
went on board the vessel, and when she reached her 
own country there were great rejoicings, for her parents 
had never expected to see her again. She told them how a 
prince had saved her from the robbers, and was coming in 
a year's time to marry her, and they were greatly pleased, 

1 All the same,' said the king, ' I wish he were here 
now. A year is a long time.' 


When the princess was no longer before his eyes, the 
prince recollected why he had entered the forest, and 
made all the haste he could back to the robbers' home. 

The robber-chief could smell the apples from afar, 
for he had a nose like an ogre, and he said to the queen : 

' That is a strange fellow ! If he had gone into the 
forest the wild beasts must have eaten him unless he 
has a powerful charm to protect him. If that is so we 
must get it away from him.' 

' No, he has nothing,' answered the queen, who was 
quite fascinated by the robber. 

But the robber did not believe her. 

1 We must think of a way to get it,' he said. ' When 
he comes in say you are well again, and have some food 
ready for him. Then, whilst he is eating, tell him you 
dreamed that he was attacked by wild beasts, and ask 
him how he managed to escape from them. After he 
has told you I can easily find a way to take his charm 
from him.' 

Shortly after the prince came in. 

' How are you, mother ! ' he said gaily. ' Here are 
your apples. Now you will soon be well again, and 
ready to come away with me.' 

' Oh, I am better already,' she said. 'And see, your 
dinner is all hot for you ; eat it up, and then we will 

Whilst he was eating she said to him : ' I had a 
horrible dream while you were away. I saw you in a 
forest full of wild animals, and they were running round 
you and growling fiercely. How did you manage to 
escape from them?' 

' Oh, it was only a dream ! ' laughed the prince. 

1 But my dreams are always true,' said his mother. 
' Tell me how it was.' 

The prince wondered for some time whether he 
should tell her or not, but at last he decided to let her 
into the secret. 

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* One should tell one's mother everything,' he thought. 
And he told her. 

'See, mother, here are a sword and a mail shirt which 
I found in the first house we entered in the forest, and 
as long as I carry them nothing can hurt me. That is 
what saved me from the wild beasts.' 

' How can I be thankful enough ! ' exclaimed the 
queen. And directly the prince's back was turned, she 
hurried to tell the robber. 

The robber, as soon as he heard the news, made a 
sleeping-draught, and bade the queen give it to her son 
before he went to bed that night. 

Accordingly, as soon as the prince began to get 
sleepy, the queen handed him the cup containing the 

'Drink this, to please me,' she said. ' It will do you 
good after all you've gone through, and make you sleep 

' What an odd taste it has ! ' murmured the prince as 
he drank it. 

Immediately he fell asleep ; and the robber came in 
and took away his sword and shirt of mail. 

' These things belong to my brother,' he said. After 
he had got them both in his hand the robber woke him. 

' I am the master now,' said he. * Choose one of two 
things — either you must die, or your eyes will be put out, 
and you will be sent back to the forest.' 

The prince's blood grew cold at these words. Then a 
thought struck him, and he turned to his mother : * Is 
this your doing ? ' he asked sternly. And though she 
burst into tears and denied it, the prince knew she was 
not telling the truth. 

' Well,' said he, ' " whilst there is life there is hope." 
I will go back to the forest.' 

Then the robber put out his eyes, gave him a stick, 
and some food and .drink* and drove him into the forest, 


hoping that the wild beasts would kill him, as he no 
longer had the sword and shirt to protect him. 

' Now/ he said to the queen, ' we will return to your 

The next day they set sail, and as soon as they 
reached home, they were married, and the robber became 

Meanwhile the poor prince was wandering about in 
the forest, hoping to find someone who would help him, 
and perhaps take him into service, for now he had no 
money and no home. It so happened that there had 
been a great hunt in the forest, and the wild beasts had 
all fled before the hunters and were hiding, so nothing 
did him any harm. At last, one day, just when his food 
was all gone and he had made up his mind that he must 
surely die of hunger, he came to the port whence the 
ships sailed for Arabia. One vessel was just ready to 
start, and the captain was going on board when he saw 
the prince. 

' Why, here is a poor blind fellow ! ' he said. ' No 
doubt that is the work of the robbers. Let us take him 
to Arabia with us. Would you like to come, my good 
man?' he asked the prince. 

Oh, how glad he was to hear someone speak kindly to 
him again ! And he answered that he would, and the 
sailors helped him to climb up the side of the ship. 
W^hen they got to Arabia the captain took him to the 
public baths, and ordered one of the slaves to wash him. 
Whilst he was being washed the princess's ring slipped 
off his ringer and was afterwards found by the slave who 
cleaned out the bath. The man showed it to a friend of 
his who lived at the palace. 

' Why, it is the princess's ring ! ' he said. ' Where did 
it come from ? ' 

' It fell off a blind man's finger/ said the slave. ' He 
must have stolen it ; but I dare say you will be able to 
return it to the princess.' 

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So that evening the man took the ring to the palace 
and gave it to his daughter, who was the princess's 
favourite slave, and the girl gave it to her mistress. 
When the princess saw it she uttered a cry of joy. 

' It is the ring I gave my betrothed ! ' she said. ' Take 
me to him at once.' 

The bath-keeper thought it strange that the princess 
should be betrothed to a blind beggar, but he did as she 
bade him, and when she saw the prince she cried : 

' At last you have come ! The year is over, and I 
thought you were dead. Now we will be married imme- 
diately.' And she went home and told the king that he 
was to send an escort to bring her betrothed to the palace. 
Naturally the king was rather surprised at the sudden 
arrival of the prince ; but when he heard that he was 
blind he was very much annoyed. 

' I cannot have a blind person to succeed me,' he said. 
' It is perfectly absurd ! ' 

But the princess had had her own way all her life, 
and in the end the king gave way as he had always 
done. The prince was taken to the palace with much 
ceremony and splendour; but in spite of this the king 
was not contented. Still, it could not be helped, and 
really it was time the princess was married, though she 
looked as young as ever. There had been hundreds of 
knights and princes who had begged her to bestow her 
hand upon them, but she would have nothing to do with 
anyone ; and now she had taken it into her head to marry 
this blind prince, and nobody else would she have. 

One evening, as it was fine, the prince and princess 
went into the garden, and sat down under a tree. 

Two ravens were perched on a bush near by, and the 
prince, who could understand bird language, heard one 
of them say : ' Do you know that it is Midsummer-eve 
to-night ? ' 

' Yes; sai frt/'fe/ by Microsoft® 


' And do you know that part of the garden which is 
known as the Queen's Bed ? ' 

* Yes.' 

' Well, perhaps you don't know this, that whoever has 
bad eyes, or no eyes at all, should bathe his eye-sockets 
in the dew that falls there to-night, because then he will 
get his sight back. Only he must do it between twelve 
and one o'clock.' 

That was good news for the prince and princess to 
hear, and the young man begged the princess to lead him 
to the place called the Queen's Bed, which was the little 
plot of grass where the queen used often to lie down 
and take her midday nap. Then, between twelve and 
one o'clock, he bathed his eyes with the dew that was 
falling there, and found he could see again as well as 

' I can see you ! ' he said to the princess, gazing at her 
as if he had never seen anything before. 

1 1 don't believe it,' she answered. 

' Well, go and hang your handkerchief on a bush, and 
if I find it at once you must believe me,' he said. 

And so she did, and he went straight up to the hand- 

1 Yes, indeed, you can see/ cried the princess. ' To 
think that my mother's bed has really given back your 
sight ! ' and she went to the bank and sat down again ; 
and by-and-by, as the day was hot, the princess fell 
asleep. As the prince watched her he suddenly saw 
something shining on her neck. It was a little golden 
lamp that gave out a bright light, and it hung from a 
golden chain. The prince thought he would like to 
examine it more closely, so he unfastened the chain, but 
as he did so the lamp fell to the ground. Before he 
could pick it up a hawk flew in, snatched up the little 
lamp and flew away again with it. The prince set off in 
pursuit, and ran on and on without being able to catch 
the bird, iintil at length he had lost his way. Trying to 

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find it, he wandered on, up and down, until he came to 
the forest where he had found the princess. 

Meantime, the princess woke up, and finding herself 
alone she set out to look for him. In the end she also 
lost her way, and as she was walking about, not knowing 
what to do, the robbers captured her and took her back 
to the cave from which the prince had rescued her. So 

^ ^Ke Ha.oK. Flies a^way oitw t,ne L,^rnp g^gg^j=g 

there they were after all their trouble — no better off than 
before ! 

The prince wandered on, trying to find his way back 
to Arabia, until he chanced one day to meet twelve 
youths, walking gaily through the forest, singing and 
laughing. 'Where are you going ?' he asked. And they 
told him they were looking for work. 

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1 I'll join you, if I may/ said the prince. And they 
answered: 'The more the merrier.' 

Then the prince went with them, and they all 
journeyed on until they met an old troll. 

( Where are you going, my masters?' asked the troll. 

' To seek service/ they told him, 

1 Then come and serve me/ he said ; * there will be 
plenty to eat and drink, and not much work to do, and 
if, at the end of a year, you can answer three questions, 
I'll give you each a sack of gold. Otherwise you must 
be turned into beasts.' 

The youths thought this sounded easy enough, so 
they went home with the troll to his castle. 

1 You will find all that you want here/ he said ; ( and 
all you need do is to take care of the house, for I am 
going away, and shall only return when the year is over.' 

Then he went away, and the young men, left to them- 
selves, had a fine time of it ; for they did no work, and 
only amused themselves with singing and drinking. 
Every day they found the table laid with good things to 
eat and drink, and when they had finished, the plates 
and dishes were cleared away by invisible hands. Only 
the prince, who was sad for his lost princess, ate and 
drank spaiingly, and worked hard keeping the house in 

One day, as he sat in his own room, he heard the 
voice of the old troll beneath his window talking to 
another troll. 

' To-morrow/ said he, ' the year is up.' 

' And what questions will you ask ? ' inquired the 

' First I shall ask how long they have been here — 
they don't know, the young fools ! Secondly I shall ask 
what shines on the roof of the castle.' 

' And what is that ? ' 

' The lamp that was stolen by me from the princess 
as she slept in the garden.' 

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1 And what is the third question ? ' 

' I shall ask where the food and drink they consume 
every day come from. I steal it from the king's table ; 
but they don't know that.' 

The day after, the troll entered. 

' Now I shall ask my questions/ said he. * To begin 
with : How long have you been here ? ' 

The young men had been so busy drinking and making 
merry that they had forgotten all about the agreement, so 
they remained silent. 

' One week,' said one, at last. 

' Two months,' guessed another. But the prince 
answered, ' One year.' 

1 Eight,' replied the troll. But the second question 
was more difficult. 

' What is it that shines on the roof ? ' 

The young men guessed and guessed. * The sun — the 
moon.' But none of them really knew. 

' May I answer? ' asked the prince. 

' Yes, certainly,' replied the troll ; and the prince 

' The lamp that you stole from the princess whilst 
she was asleep in the garden.' And again the troll 

The third question was harder still. 

' Where does the meat and drink you have had here 
come from ? ' 

None of the young men could guess. 

' May I say ? ' asked the prince. 

1 Yes, if you can,' replied the troll. 

'It comes from the king's table,' said the prince. 

And that was all. Now they might take the sacks of 
gold and go, and the young men went off in such a hurry 
that the prince was left behind. Presently, they met an 
old man who asked for money. 

'No, we haven't any,' they answered. 

OL. T 


So they hurried on, and by-and-by up came the 

* Has your lordship a piece of money for a poor man ? " 
asked the old fellow. 

* Yes/ said the prince, and gave him his whole- 

' I don't want it,' said the old man, who was really 
the troll they had just left in disguise. ' But since 
you're so generous, here is the princess's lamp, and the 
princess herself is in the cave where you found her ; but 
how you're going to save her again without the magic 
sword I don't know.' 

When he heard that, the prince knew where she 
was ; and that was the beginning of her rescue. So he 
disguised himself to look like a pedlar and travelled on 
until he reached his own city, where his mother, the 
queen, and the robber-chief were living. Then he went 
in to a goldsmith's shop and ordered a great number 
of kitchen pots to be made out of pure gold. That was 
not an order the goldsmith had every day, but the 
things were ready at last, saucepans and kettles and 
gridirons all of pure gold. Then the prince put them in 
his basket and went up to the palace, and asked to see 
the queen. 

Directly she heard about the wonderful gold pots and 
pans she came out at once, and began unpacking the basket 
and admiring the things. She was so absorbed in them 
that the prince soon found an opportunity to steal into 
the bedroom and take the sword and shirt which were 
hung there, and go back again without his mother having 
noticed his absence. 

' The things are all beautiful ! ' she said. * How much 
would you take for them ? ' 

' Name your own price, your majesty,' answered the 

' I really don't know what to say,' said the queen. 
' Wait till my husband comes back — men understand 

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such things better ; and then, as you are a stranger, he 
would like to chat with you a little.' The prince bowed, 
and waited silently in a corner. 

Soon after the robber returned. 

' Come and see all these lovely gold saucepans ! ' 
cried the queen. 

But, as the robber entered the room, the prince 
touched him with the magic sword, and he fell to the 

1 Perhaps, now you know me, mother,' the prince said, 
taking off his disguise, ' you had better repent for all 
the wrong you have done me, or your life will be short.' 

< Oh, have mercy I ' she cried, ' I could not help it. 
I was so frightened.' 

The prince had mercy. He ordered the wicked king 
to be stripped of his fine clothes, and to be driven into 
the forest, where the wild beasts tore him to pieces. 
The queen he sent to her own country. Then he set off 
for the cave where the princess was sitting chained as 
before, and with the help of the magic sword he rescued 
her again without any difficulty. They soon reached the 
port and set sail for Arabia, where they were married ; and 
till they died, a long while after, they reigned happily 
over both countries. 

[Fra Eventyr fra Gylbauck samlede og optegnede af Evald Tang 
Kristensen. Translated from the Danish by Mrs. Skovgaard Pedersen.l 

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Once upon a time the king of a far country was sitting 
on his throne, listening to the complaints of his people, 
and judging between them. That morning there had 
been fewer cases than usual to deal with, and the king 
was about to rise and go into his gardens, when a sudden 
stir was heard outside, and the lord high chamberlain 
entered, and inquired if his majesty would be graciously 
pleased to receive the ambassador of a powerful emperor 
who lived in the east, and was greatly feared by the 
neighbouring sovereigns. The king, who stood as much 
in dread of him as the rest, gave orders that the envoy 
should be admitted at once, and that a banquet should 
be prepared in his honour. Then he settled himself 
again on his throne, wondering what the envoy had to 

The envoy said nothing. He advanced to the throne 
where the king was awaiting him, and stooping down, 
traced on the floor with a rod which he held in his hand 
a black circle all round it. Then he sat down on a seat 
that was near, and took no further notice of anyone. 

The king and his courtiers were equally mystified 
and enraged at this strange behaviour, but the envoy sat 
as calm and still as an image, and it soon became plain 
that they would get no explanation from him. The 
ministers were hastily summoned to a council, but not 
one of them could throw any light upon the subject. 
This made the king more angry than ever, and he told 
them that unless before sunset they could find someone 
capable of solving the mystery he would hang them all. 

* uiginzeaoy Microsoft ® 


The king was, as the ministers knew, a man of his 
word ; and they quickly mapped out the city into districts, 
so that they might visit house by house, and question 
the occupants as to whether they could fathom the 
action of the ambassador. Most of them received no 
reply except a puzzled stare ; but, luckily, one of them 
was more observant than the rest, and on entering an 
empty cottage where a swing was swinging of itself, he 
began to think it might be worth while for him to see 
the owner. Opening a door leading into another room, 
he found a second swing, swinging gently like the first, 
and from the window he beheld a patch of corn, and a 
willow which moved perpetually without any wind, in 
order to frighten away the sparrows. Feeling more and 
more curious, he descended the stairs and found himself 
in a large light workshop in which was seated a weaver 
at his loom. But all the weaver did was to guide his 
threads, for the machine that he had invented to set in 
motion the swings and the willow pole, made the loom 

When he saw the great wheel standing in the corner, 
and had guessed the use of it, the merchant heaved a 
sigh of relief. At any rate, if the weaver could not guess 
the riddle, he at least might put the minister on the right 
track. So without more ado he told the story of the 
circle, and ended by declaring that the person who could 
explain its meaning should be handsomely rewarded. 

' Come with me at once/ he said. ' The sun is low 
in the heavens, and there is no time to lose.' 

The weaver stood thinking for a moment and then 
walked across to a window, outside of which was a hen- 
coop with two knuckle-bones lying beside it. These he 
picked up, and taking the hen from the coop, he tucked 
it under his arm. 

* I am ready,' he answered, turning to the minister. 

In the hall the king still sat on his throne, and the 
envoy on his seat. Signing to the minister to remain 


where he was, the weaver advanced to the envoy, and 
placed the knuckle-bones on the floor beside him. For 
answer, the envoy took a handful of millet seed out of 
his pocket and scattered it round ; upon which the 
weaver set down the hen, who ate it up in a moment. 
At that the envoy rose without a word, and took his 

As soon as he had left the hall, the king beckoned to 
the weaver. 

' You alone seem to have guessed the riddle,' said he, 
' and great shall be your reward. But tell me, I pray 
you, what it all means ? ' 

' The meaning, O king,' replied the weaver, ' is this : 
The circle drawn by the envoy round your throne is the 
message of the emperor, and signifies, " If I send an army 
and surround your capital, will you lay down your arms ? " 
The knuckle-bones which I placed before him told him, 
" You are but children in comparison with us. Toys 
like these are the only playthings you are fit for." The 
millet that he scattered was an emblem of the number 
of soldiers that his master can bring into the field ; but 
by the hen which ate up the seed he understood that 
one of our men could destroy a host of theirs.' 

' I do not think,' he added, ' that the emperor will 
declare war.' 

' You have saved me and my honour,' cried the king, 
' and wealth and glory shall be heaped upon you. Name 
your reward, and you shall have it even to the half of my 

1 The small farm outside the city gates, as a marriage 
portion for my daughter, is all I ask,' answered the 
weaver, and it was all he would accept. ' Only, O king,' 
were his parting words, ' I would beg of you to remember 
that weavers also are of value to a state, and that they 
are sometimes cleverer even than ministers ! ' 

[Frcrn Contes Armejiiens, Par Frederic Macler.] 

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Once upon a time there lived a woman who had one son 
whom she loved dearly. The little cottage in which 
they dwelt was built on the outskirts of a forest, and as 
they had no neighbours, the place was very lonely, and 
the boy was kept at home by his mother to bear her 

They were sitting together on a winter's evening, 
when a storm suddenly sprang up, and the wind blew 
the door open. The woman started and shivered, and 
glanced over her shoulder as if she half expected to see 
some horrible thing behind her. ' Go and shut the door,' 
she said hastily to her son, ' I feel frightened.' 

' Frightened ? ' repeated the boy. ' What does it feel 
like to be frightened ? ' 

' Well — just frightened/ answered the mother. ' A 
fear of something, you hardly know what, takes hold of 

'It must be very odd to feel like that,' replied the 
boy. ' I will go through the world and seek fear till I find 
it.' And the next morning, before his mother was out of 
bed, he had left the forest behind him. 

After walking for some hours he reached a mountain, 
which he began to climb. Near the top, in a wild and 
rocky spot, he came upon a band of fierce robbers, sitting 
round a fire. The boy, who was cold and tired, was 
delighted to see the bright flames, so he went up to them 
and said, ' Good greeting to you, sirs,' and wriggled him- 
self in between the men, till his feet almost touched the 
burning logs. Dig j t j zed by M j cmsom 


The robbers stopped drinking and eyed him curiously,, 
and at last the captain spoke. 

* No caravan of armed men would dare to come here, 
even the very birds shun our camp, and who are you to 
venture in so boldly ? ' 

' Oh, I have left my mother's house in search of fear. 
Perhaps you can show it to me?' 

' Fear is wherever we are,' answered the captain. 

' But where ? ' asked the boy, looking round. ' I see 

' Take this pot and some flour and butter and sugar 
over to the churchyard which lies down there, and bake 
us a cake for supper/ replied the robber. And the boy, 
who was by this time quite warm, jumped up cheerfully, 
and slinging the pot over his arm, ran down the hill. 

When he got to the churchyard he collected some 
sticks and made a fire ; then he filled the pot with water 
from a little stream close by, and mixing the flour and 
butter and sugar together, he set the cake on to cook. It 
was not long before it grew crisp and brown, and then 
the boy lifted it from the pot and placed it on a stone, 
while he put out the fire. At that moment a hand was 
stretched from a grave, and a voice said : 

' Is that cake for me ? ' 

1 Do you think I am going to give to the dead the 
food of the living ? ' replied the boy, with a laugh. And 
giving the hand a tap with his spoon, and picking up 
the cake, he went up the mountain side, whistling 

' Well, have you found fear ? ' asked the robbers when 
he held out the cake to the captain. 

1 No ; was it there ? ' answered the boy. ' I saw 
nothing but a hand which came from a grave, and 
belonged to someone who wanted my cake, but I just 
rapped the fingers with my spoon, and said it was not 
for him, and then the hand vanished. Oh, how nice the 
fire is ! ' And he flung himself on his knees before it, and 

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so did not notice the glances of surprise cast by the 
robbers at each other. 

' There is another chance for you,' said one at length. 
1 On the other side of the mountain lies a deep pool ; go 
to that, and perhaps you may meet fear on the way.' 

' I hope so, indeed/ answered the boy. And he set 
out at once. 

He soon beheld the waters of the pool gleaming in 
the moonlight, and as he drew near he saw a tall swing 
standing just over it, and in the swing a child was seated, 
weeping bitterly, 

' That is a strange place for a swing,' thought the boy ; 
' but I wonder what he is crying about.' And he was 
hurrying on towards the child, when a maiden ran up 
and spoke to him. 

' I want to lift my little brother from the swing,' cried 
she, ' but it is so high above me, that I cannot reach. If 
you will get closer to the edge of the pool, and let me 
mount on your shoulder, I think I can reach him.' 

' 'Willingly,' replied the boy, and in an instant the 
girl had climbed to his shoulders. But instead of lifting 
the child from the swing, as she could easily have done, 
she pressed her feet so firmly on each side of the youth's 
neck, that he felt that in another minute he would be 
choked, or else fall into the water beneath him. So, 
gathering up all his strength, he gave a mighty heave, 
and threw the girl backwards. As she touched the 
ground a bracelet fell from her arm, and this the youth 
picked up. 

* I may as well keep it as a remembrance of all the 
queer things that have happened to me since I left home,' 
he said to himself, and turning to look for the child, he 
saw that both it and the swing had vanished, and that 
the first streaks of dawn were in the sky. 

With the bracelet on his arm, the youth started for a 
little town which was situated in the plain on the further 
side of the mountain, and as, hungry and thirsty, he 


entered its principal street, a Jew stopped him. ' Where 
did you get that bracelet ? ' asked the Jew. ' It belongs 
to me.' 

' No, it is mine,' replied the boy. 

' It is not. Give it to me at once, or it will be the 
worse for you ! ' cried the Jew. 

' Let us go before a judge, and tell him our stories,' 
said the boy. ' If he decides in your favour, you shall 
have it ; if in mine, I will keep it ! ' 

To this the Jew agreed, and the two went together 
to the great hall, in which the kadi was administering 
justice. He listened very carefully to what each had to 
say, and then pronounced his verdict. Neither of the 
two claimants had proved his right to the bracelet, there- 
fore it must remain in the possession of the judge till its 
fellow was brought before him. 

When they heard this, the Jew and the boy looked 
at each other, and their eyes said : ' Where are we to go 
to find the other one ? ' But as they knew there was no 
use in disputing the decision, they bowed low and left 
the hall of audience. 

W 7 andering he knew not whither, the youth found 
himself on the sea-shore. At a little distance was a ship 
which had struck on a hidden rock, and was rapidly 
sinking, while on deck the crew were gathered, with 
faces white as death, shrieking and wringing their hands. 

'Have you met with fear?' shouted the boy. And 
the answer came above the noise of the waves. 

' Oh, help ! help ! We are drowning ! ' 

Then the boy flung off his clothes, and swam to the 
ship, where many hands were held out to draw him on 

' The ship is tossed hither and thither, and will soon 
be sucked down,' cried the crew again. ' Death is very 
near, and we are frightened ! ' 

* Give me a rope/ said the boy in reply, and he took 

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it, and made it safe round his body at one end, and to 
the mast at the other, and sprang into the sea. Down 
he went, down, down, down, till at last his feet touched 
the bottom, and he stood up and looked about him. 
There, sure enough, a sea-maiden with a wicked face 
was tugging hard at a chain which she had fastened to 
the ship with a grappling iron, and was dragging it bit 
by bit beneath the waves. Seizing her arms in both his 
hands, he forced her to drop the chain, and the ship 
above remaining steady, the sailors were able gently to 
float her off the rock. Then taking a rusty knife from 
a heap of seaweed at his feet, he cut the rope round his 
waist and fastened the sea-maiden firmly to a stone, so 
that she could do no more mischief, and bidding her 
farewell, he swam back to the beach, where his clothes 
were still lying. 

The youth dressed himself quickly and walked on 
till he came to a beautiful shady garden filled with 
flowers, and with a clear little stream running through. 
The day was hot, and he was tired, so he entered 
the gate, and seated himself under a clump of bushes 
covered with sweet-smelling red blossoms, and it was 
not long before he fell asleep. Suddenly a rush of 
wings and a cool breeze awakened him, and raising his 
head cautiously, he saw three doves plunging into the 
stream. They splashed joyfully about, and shook them- 
selves, and then dived to the bottom of a deep pool. 
"When they appeared again they were no longer three 
doves, but three beautiful damsels, bearing between them 
a table made of mother of pearl. On this they placed 
drinking cups fashioned from pink and green shells, and 
one of the maidens filled a cup from a crystal goblet, 
and was raising it to her mouth, when her sister stopped 

1 To whose health do you drink ? ' asked she. 

' To the youth who prepared the cake, and rapped 
my hand with the spoon when I stretched it out of the 


earth,' answered the maiden, ' and was never afraid as 
other men were ! But to whose health do you drink ? ' 

1 To the youth on whose shoulders I climbed at the 
edge of the pool, and who threw me off with such a jerk, 
that I lay unconscious on the ground for hours,' replied 
the second. ' But you, my sister,' added she, turning to 
the third girl, ' to whom do you drink ? ' 

( Down in the sea I took hold of a ship and shook it 
and pulled it till it would soon have been lost,' said she. 
And as she spoke she looked quite different from what 
she had done with the chain in her hands, seeking to 
work mischief. ' But a youth came, and freed the ship 
and bound me to a rock. To his health I drink,' and 
they all three lifted their cups and drank silently. 

As they put their cups down, the youth appeared 
before them. 

' Here am I, the youth whose health you have drunk ; 
and now give me the bracelet that matches a jewelled 
band which of a surety fell from the arm of one of you. 
A Jew tried to take it from me, but I would not let him 
have it, and he dragged me before the kadi, who kept 
my bracelet till I could show him its fellow. And I 
have been wandering hither and thither in search of it, 
and that is how I have found myself in such strange 

1 Come with us, then,' said the maidens, and they 
led him down a passage into a hall, out of which opened 
many chambers, each one of greater splendour than the 
last. From a shelf heaped up with gold and jewels 
the eldest sister took a bracelet, which in every way was 
exactly like the one which was in the judge's keeping, 
and fastened it to the youth's arm. 

' Go at once and show this to the kadi,' said she, 
' and he will give you the fellow to it.' 

( I shall never forget you,' answered the youth, ' but 
it may be long before we meet again, for I shall never 
rest till I have found fear.' Then he went his way, and 

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won the bracelet from the kadi. After this, he again 
set forth in his quest of fear. 

On and on walked the youth, but fear never crossed 
his path, and one day he entered a large town, where 
all the streets and squares were so full of people, he 
could hardly pass between them. 

' Why are all these crowds gathered together ? ' he 
asked of a man who stood next him. 

1 The ruler of this country is dead/ was the reply, 
' and as he had no children, it is needful to choose a 
successor. Therefore each morning one of the sacred 
pigeons is let loose from the tower yonder, and on whom- 
soever the bird shall perch, that man is our king. In 
a few minutes the pigeon will fly. Wait and see what 

Every eye was fixed on the tall tower which stood 
in the centre of the chief square, and the moment that 
the sun was seen to stand straight over it, a door 
was opened and a beautiful pigeon, gleaming with pink 
and grey, blue and green, came rushing through the 
air. Onward it flew, onward, onward, till at length 
it rested on the head of the boy. Then a great shout 
arose : 

' The king ! the king ! ' but as he listened to the 
cries, a vision, swifter than lightning, flashed across his 
brain. He saw himself seated on a throne, spending 
his life trying, and never succeeding, to make poor 
people rich ; miserable people happy ; bad people good ; 
never doing anything he wished to do, not able even to 
marry the girl that he loved. 

* No ! no ! ' he shrieked, hiding his face in his hands ; 
but the crowds who heard him thought he was overcome 
by the grandeur that awaited him, and paid no heed. 

' Well, to make quite sure, let fly more pigeons,' 
said they, but each pigeon followed where the first had 
led, and the cries arose louder than ever : 

* The king ! the king ! ' And as the. young man heard, 


a cold shiver, that he knew not the meaning of, ran 
through him. 

' This is fear whom you have so long sought,' 
whispered a voice, which seemed to reach his ears alone. 
And the youth bowed his head as the vision once more 
flashed before his eyes, and he accepted his doom, and 
made ready to pass his life with fear beside him. 

[Adapted from TUrJeische YoJJcsmarchen. Von Dr. Ignaz Kiinos. 
E. J. Brill, Leiden.] 

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Once upon a time there reigned a king who had an only 
daughter. The girl had been spoiled by everybody from 
her birth, and, besides being beautiful, was clever and 
wilful, and when she grew old enough to be married 
she refused to have anything to say to the prince whom 
her father favoured, but declared she would choose a 
husband for herself. By long experience the king knew 
that when once she had made up her mind, there was no 
use expecting her to change it, so he inquired meekly 
what she wished him to do. 

' Summon all the young men in the kingdom to 
appear before me a month from to-day/ answered the 
princess ; ' and the one to whom I shall give this 
golden apple shall be my husband.' 

' But, my dear * began the king, in tones of dismay- 

' The one to whom I shall give this golden apple 
shall be my husband,' repeated the princess, in a louder 
voice than before. And the king understood the signal, 
and with a sigh proceeded to do her bidding. 

The young men arrived — tall and short, dark and fair r 
rich and poor. They stood in rows in the great court- 
yard in front of the palace, and the princess, clad in robes 
of green, with a golden veil flowing behind her, passed 
before them all, holding the apple. Once or twice she 
stopped and hesitated, but in the end she always passed 
on, till she came to a youth near the end of the last row. 
There was nothing specially remarkable about him, the 
ol. u 


bystanders thought; nothing that was likely to take a 
girl's fancy. A hundred others were handsomer, and all 
wore finer clothes ; but he met the princess's eyes frankly 
and with a smile, and she smiled too, and held out the 

1 There is some mistake,' cried the king, who had 
anxiously watched her progress, and hoped that none of 
the candidates would please her. ' It is impossible that 
she can wish to marry the son of a poor widow, who has 
not a farthing in the world! Tell her that I will not 
hear of it, and that she must go through the rows again 
and fix upon someone else ; ' and the princess went 
through the rows a second and a third time, and on each 
occasion she gave the apple to the widow's son. ' Well, 
marry him if you will,' exclaimed the angry king ; 
1 but at least you shall not stay here.' And the princess 
answered nothing, but threw up her head, and taking the 
widow's son by the hand, they left the castle. 

That evening they were married, and after the cere- 
mony went back to the house of the bridegroom's mother, 
which, in the eyes of the princess, did not look much 
bigger than a hen-coop. 

The old woman was not at all pleased when her son 
entered bringing his bride with him. 

'As if we were not poor enough before/ grumbled 
she. ' I dare say this is some fine lady who can do 
nothing to earn her living.' But the princess stroked her 
arm, and said softly : 

1 Do not be vexed, dear mother ; I am a famous spinner, 
and can sit at my wheel all day without breaking a 

And she kept her word ; but in spite of the efforts of 
all three, they became poorer and poorer ; and at the end 
of six months it was agreed that the husband should go 
to the neighbouring town to get work. Here he met a 
merchant who was about to start on a long journey with 
a train of camels laden with goods of all sorts, and 

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needed a man to help him. The widow's son begged 
that he would take him as a servant, and to this the 
merchant assented, giving him his whole year's salary 
beforehand. The young man returned home with the 
news, and next day bade farewell to his mother and his 
wife, who were very sad at parting from him. 

' Do not forget me while you are absent,' whispered 
the princess as she flung her arms round his neck ; ' and as 
you pass by the well which lies near the city gate, stop 
and greet the old man you will find sitting there. Kiss 
his hand, and then ask him what counsel he can give you 
for your journey.' 

Then the youth set out, and when he reached the 
well where the old man was sitting he asked the 
questions as his wife had bidden him. 

' My son,' replied the old man, ' you have done well 
to come to me, and in return remember three things : 
" She whom the heart loves, is ever the most beautiful." 
"Patience is the first step on the road to happiness." 
"He wins who waits." ' 

The young man thanked him and went on his way. 
Next morning early the caravan set out, and before 
sunset it had arrived at the first halting place, round 
some wells, where another company of merchants had 
already encamped. But no rain had fallen for a long 
while in that rocky country, and both men and beasts 
were parched with thirst. To be sure, there was another 
well, about half a mile away, where there was always 
water ; but to get it you had to be lowered deep down, 
and, besides, no one who had ever descended that well 
had been known to come back. 

However, till they could store some water in their 
bags of goat-skin, the caravans dared not go further 
into the desert, and on the night of the arrival of the 
widow's son and his master, the merchants had decided 
to offer a large reward to anyone who was brave enough 
to go down into the enchanted well and bring some up. 



Thus it happened that at sunrise the young man was 
aroused from his sleep by a herald making his round 
of the camp, proclaiming that every merchant present 
would give a thousand piastres to the man who would 
risk his life to bring water for themselves and their 

The youth hesitated for a little while when he heard 
the proclamation. The story of the well had spread far 
and wide, and long ago had reached his ears. The 
danger was great, he knew ; but then, if he came back 
alive, he would be the possessor of eighty thousand 
piastres. He turned to the herald who was passing the 
tent : 

* I will go,' said he. 

' What madness ! ' cried his master, who happened to 
be standing near. ' You are too young to throw away 
your life like that. Eun after the herald and tell him 
you take back your offer.' But the young man shook 
his head, and the merchant saw that it was useless 
to try and persuade him. 

' Well, it is your own affair,' he observed at last. ' If you 
must go, you must. Only, if you ever return, I will give 
you a camel's load of goods and my best mule besides.* 
And touching his turban in token of farewell, he entered 
the tent. 

Hardly had he done so than a crowd of men were 
seen pouring out of the camp. 

' How can we thank you ! ' they exclaimed, pressing 
round the youth. ' Our camels as well as ourselves are 
almost dead of thirst. See ! here is the rope we have 
brought to let you down.' 

' Come then,' answered the youth. And they all set 

On reaching the well, the rope was knotted securely 
under his arms, a big goat-skin bottle was given him, 
and he was gently lowered to the bottom of the pit. 
Here a clear stream was bubbling over the rocks, and, 

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stooping down, he was about to drink, when a huge 
Arab appeared before him, saying in a loud voice : 

1 Come with me 1 ' 

The young man rose, never doubting that his last 
hour had come ; but as he could do nothing, he followed 
the Arab into a brilliantly lighted hall, on the further 
side of the little river. There his guide sat down, and 
drawing towards him two boys, one black and the other 
white, he said to the stranger : 

'I have a question to ask you. If you answer it 
right, your life shall be spared. If not, your head will 
be forfeit, as the head of many another has been before 
you. Tell me : which of my two children do I think the 
handsomer? ' 

The question did not seem a hard one, for while the 
white boy was as beautiful a child as ever was seen, his 
brother was ugly even for a negro. But, just as the 
youth was going to speak, the old man's counsel flashed 
into the youth's mind, and he replied hastily : ' The one 
whom we love best is always the handsomest.' 

< You have saved me ! ' cried the Arab, rising quickly 
from his seat, and pressing the young man in his arms. 
1 Ah 1 if you could only guess what I have suffered from 
the stupidity of all the people to whom I have put that 
question, and I was condemned by a wicked genius to 
remain here until it was answered 1 But what brought 
you to this place, and how can I reward you for what 
you have done for me ? ' 

' By helping me to draw enough water for my 
caravan of eighty merchants and their camels, who are 
dying for want of it,' replied the youth. 

'That is easily done,' said the Arab. 'Take these 
three apples, and when you have filled your skin, and are 
ready to be drawn up, lay one of them on the ground. 
Half-way to the earth, let fall another, and at the top, 
drop the third. If you follow my directions no harm 
will happen to you. And take, besides, these three 


pomegranates, green, red and white. One day you will 
find a use for them ! ' 

The young man did as he was told, and stepped out 
on the rocky waste, where the merchants were anxiously 
awaiting him. Oh, how thirsty they all were ! But even 
after the camels had drunk, the skin seemed as full as 

Full of gratitude for their deliverance, the merchants 
pressed the money into his hands, while his own master 
bade him choose what goods he liked, and a mule to 
carry them. 

So the widow's son was rich at last, and when the 
merchant had sold his merchandise, and returned home 
to his native city, his servant hired a man by whom he 
sent the money and the mule back to his wife. 

1 I will send the pomegranates also,' thought he, ' for 
if I leave them in my turban they may some day fall 
out,' and he drew them out of his turban. But the fruit 
had vanished, and in their places were three precious 
stones, green, white and red. 

For a long time he remained with the merchant, who 
gradually trusted him with all his business, and gave 
him a large share of the money he made. When his 
master died, the young man wished to return home, but 
the widow begged him to stay and help her ; and one day 
he awoke with a start, to remember that twenty years 
had passed since he had gone away. 

' I want to see my wife,' he said next morning to his 
mistress. ' If at any time I can be of use to you, send 
a messenger to me ; meanwhile, I have told Hassan 
what to do.' And mounting a camel he set out. 

Now, soon after he had taken service with the mer- 
chant a little boy had been born to him, and both the 
princess and the old woman toiled hard all day to get 
the baby food and clothing. When the money and the 
pomegranates arrived there was no need for them to work 

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any more, and the princess saw at once that they were 
not fruit at all, but precious stones of great value. The 
old woman, however, not being accustomed, like her 
daughter-in-law, to the sight of jewels, took them only 
for common fruit, and wished to give them to the child 
to eat. She was very angry when the princess hastily 
took them from her and hid them in her dress, while she 
went to the market and bought the three finest pome- 
granates she could find, which she handed the old 
woman for the little boy. 

Then she bought beautiful new clothes for all of 
them, and when they were dressed they looked as fine 
as could be. Next, she took out one of the precious 
stones which her husband had sent her, and placed it 
in a small silver box. This she wrapped up in a hand- 
kerchief embroidered in gold, and filled the old woman's 
pockets with gold and silver pieces. 

' Go, dear mother,' she said, ' to the palace, and 
present the jewel to the king, and if he asks you what 
he can give you in return, tell him that you want a 
paper, with his seal attached, proclaiming that no one is 
to meddle with anything you may choose to do. Before 
you leave the palace distribute the money amongst the 

The old woman took the box and started for the 
palace. No one there had ever seen a ruby of such 
beauty, and the most famous jeweller in the town was 
summoned to declare its value. But all he could say 
was : 

* If a boy threw a stone into the air with all his might, 
and you could pile up gold as high as the flight of the 
stone, it would not be sufficient to pay for this ruby.' 

At these words the king's face fell. Having once 
seen the ruby he could not bear to part with it, yet all 
the money in his treasury would not be enough to buy it. 
So for a little while he remained silent, wondering what 
offer he could make the old woman, and at last he said : 


1 If I cannot give you its worth in money, is there 
anything you will take in exchange ? ' 

' A paper signed by your hand, and sealed with your 
seal, proclaiming that I may do what I will, without let 
or hindrance,' answered she promptly. And the king, 
delighted to have obtained what he coveted at so small 
a cost, gave her the paper without delay. Then the old 
woman took her leave and returned home. 

The fame of this wonderful ruby soon spread far and 
wide, and envoys arrived at the little house to know if 
there were more stones to sell. Each king was so 
anxious to gain possession of the treasure that he bade 
his messenger outbid all the rest, and so the princess 
sold the two remaining stones for a sum of money so 
large that if the gold pieces had been spread out they 
would have reached from here to the moon. The first 
thing she did was to build a palace by the side of the 
cottage, and it was raised on pillars of gold, in which 
were set great diamonds, which blazed night and day. 
Of course the news of this palace was the first thing 
that reached the king her father, on his return from the 
wars, and he hurried to see it. In the doorway stood a 
young man of twenty, who was his grandson, though 
neither of them knew it, and so pleased was the king 
with the appearance of the youth, that he carried him 
back to his own palace, and made him commander of the 
whole army. 

Not long after this, the widow's son returned to his 
native land. There, sure enough, was the tiny cottage 
where he had lived with his mother, but the gorgeous 
building beside it was quite new to him. What had 
become of his wife and his mother, and who could be 
dwelling in that other wonderful place? These were 
the first thoughts that flashed through his mind ; but not 
wishing to betray himself by asking questions of passing 
strangers, he climbed up into a tree that stood opposite 
the palace and watched. 

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By-and-by a lady came out, and began to gather 
some of the roses and jessamine that hung about the 
porch. The twenty years that had passed since he had 
last beheld her vanished in an instant, and he knew her 
to be his own wife, looking almost as young and beautiful 
as on the day of their parting. He was about to jump 
down from the tree and hasten to her side, when she 
was joined by a young man who placed his arm affec- 
tionately round her neck. At this sight the angry 
husband drew his bow, but before he could let fly the 
arrow, the counsel of the wise man came back to him : 
'Patience is the first step on the road to happiness.' 
And he laid it down again. 

At this moment the princess turned, and drawing her 
companion's head down to hers, kissed him on each cheek. 
A second time blind rage filled the heart of the watcher, 
and he snatched up his bow from the branch where it 
hung, when words, heard long since, seemed to sound in 
his ears : 

' He wins who waits.' And the bow dropped to his 
side. Then, through the silent air came the sound of 
the youth's voice : 

' Mother, can you tell me nothing about my father ? 
Does he still live, and will he never return to us ? ' 

'Alas! my son, how can I answer you?' replied the 
lady. ' Twenty years have passed since he left us to 
make his fortune, and, in that time, only once have I 
heard aught of him. But what has brought him to your 
mind just now ? ' 

' Because last night I dreamed that he was here,' said 
the youth, i and then I remembered what I have so long 
forgotten, that I had a father, though even his very 
history was strange to me. And now, tell me, I pray 
you, all you can concerning him.' 

And standing under the jessamine, the son learnt his 
father's history, and the man in the tree listened also. 

' Oh,' exclaimed the youth, when it was ended, while 


he twisted his hands in pain, ' I am general-in-chief ? you 
are the king's daughter, and we have the most splendid 
palace in the whole world, yet my father lives we know 
not where, and for all we can guess, may be poor and 
miserable. To-morrow I will ask the king to give me 
soldiers, and I will seek him over the whole earth till 
I find him.' 

Then the man came down from the tree, and clasped 
his wife and son in his arms. All that night they talked, 
and when the sun rose it still found them talking. But 
as soon as it was proper, he went up to the palace to 
pay his homage to the king, and to inform him of all 
that had happened and who they all really were. The 
king was overjoyed to think that his daughter, whom he 
had long since forgiven and sorely missed, was living at 
his gates, and was, besides, the mother of the youth who 
was so dear to him. ' It was written beforehand,' cried 
the monarch. ' You are my son-in-law before the world, 
and shall be king after me.' 

And the man bowed his head. 

He had waited ; and he had won. 

[From Conies Armeniens. Par Frederic Macler.] 

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Once upon a time there lived an old woman who had 
a small cottage on the edge of the forest. Behind the 
cottage was a garden in which all sorts of vegetables 
grew, and, beyond that, a field with two or three cows 
in it, so her neighbours considered her quite rich, and 
envied her greatly. 

As long as she was strong enough to work all day in 
her garden the old woman never felt lonely, but after a 
while she had a bad illness, which left her much weaker 
than before, and she began to think that now and then 
it would be nice to have someone to speak to. Just at 
this moment she heard of the death of a shepherd and 
his wife, who dwelt on the other side of the plain, leaving 
a little boy quite alone in the world. 

' That will just suit me,' she said ; and sent a man 
over to bring the child, whom she intended to adopt for 
her own. 

Now the boy, who was about twelve years old, ought 
to have considered himself very lucky, for his new mother 
was as kind to him as the old one. But, unfortunately, 
he made friends with some bad rude companions whose 
tricks caused them to be a terror to everyone, and the 
poor old woman never ceased regretting her lost solitude. 

Things went on in this way for some years, till the 
boy became a man. 

1 Perhaps, if he were to be married he might sober 
down,' she thought to herself. And she inquired among 
the neighbours what girls there were of an age to choose 


from. At length one was found, good and industrious, as 
well as pretty ; and as the young man raised no objections 
the wedding took place at once, and the bride and bride- 
groom went to live in the cottage with the old woman. 
But no change was to be seen in the husband's conduct. 
All day long he was out amusing himself in the company 
of his former friends, and if his wife dared to say 
anything to him on his return home he beat her with 
his stick. And next year, when a baby was born to them, 
he beat it also. 

At length the old woman's patience was worn out. 

* She saw that it was quite useless to expect the lazy, idle 

creature to mend his ways, and one day she said to him : 

' Do you mean to go on like this for ever ? Eemember, 
you are no longer a boy, and it is time that you left off 
behaving like one. Come, shake off your bad habits, and 
work for your wife and child, and above all, stop beating 
them. If not I will transform you into an ass, and heavy 
loads shall be piled on your back, and men shall ride you. 
Briars shall be your food, a goad shall prick you, and in 
your turn you shall know how it feels to be beaten.' 

But if she expected her words to do any good she 
soon found out her mistake, for the young man only grew 
angry and cried rudely : 

' Bah ! hold your tongue, or I will whip you also.' 

' Will you ? ' she answered grimly ; and, swift as 
lightning, she picked up a steel cane that stood in the 
comer and laid it across his shoulders. In an instant 
his ears had grown long and his face longer, his arms had 
become legs, and his body was covered with close grey 
hair. Truly, he was an ass ; and a very ugly one, too ! 

' Leave the house ! ' commanded the old woman. And, 
shambling awkwardly, he went. 

As he was standing in the path outside, not knowing 
what to do, a man passed by. 

'Ho! my fine fellow, you are exactly what I was 
looking t °fi ig Jfjfc$%f<ffl)ft ( teftt@*steT, so come 


with me. I will find something for you to do.' And 
taking him by the ear he led him from the cottage. 

For seven years the ass led a hard life, just as the 
old woman had foretold. But instead of remembering 
that he had brought all his suffering on himself, and 
being sorry for his evil ways, he grew harder, and more 
bitter. At the end of the seven years his ass skin wore 
out, and he became a man again, and one day returned to 
the cottage. 

His wife opened the door in answer to his knock ; 
then, letting fall the latch she ran inside, crying : 

' Grandmother ! grandmother ! your son has come 
back ! ' 

' 1 thought he would,' replied the old woman, going 
on with her spinning. ' Well, we could have done very 
well without him. But as he is here I suppose he must 
come in.' 

And come in he did. But as the old woman expected, 
he behaved still worse than before. For some weeks she 
allowed him to do what he liked ; then at last she said : 

' So experience has taught you nothing ! After all, 
there are very few people who have sense to learn by it. 
But take care lest I change you into a wolf, to be a prey 
for dogs and men ! ' 

'You talk too much. I shall break your head for 
you ! ' was all the answer she got. 

Had the young man looked at her face he might have 
taken warning, but he was busy making a pipe, and took 
no notice. The next moment the steel cane had touched 
his shoulders, and a big grey wolf bounded through the 

Oh ! what a yapping among the dogs, and what a 
shouting among the neighbours as they gave chase. 

For seven years he led the life of a hunted animal, 
often cold and nearly always hungry, and never daring to 
allow himself a sound sleep. At the end of that time his 
wolf skin wore out also, and again he appeared at the 


cottage door. But the second seven years had taught 
him no more than the first — his conduct was worse than 
before ; and one day he beat his wife and son so brutally 
that they screamed to the old woman to come to their 

She did, and brought the steel cane with her. In a 
second the ruffian had vanished, and a big black crow 
was flying about the room, crying ' Gour ! Gour ! ' 

The window was open, and he darted through it ; 
and seeking the companions who had ruined him, he 
managed to make them understand what had happened. 

' We will avenge you,' said they ; and taking up a 
rope, set out to strangle the old woman. 

But she was ready for them. One stroke of her cane 
and they were all changed into a troop of black crows, 
and this time their feathers are lasting still. 

[From Contes Armeniens. Par Frederic Macler.] 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 


Once upon a time there lived a king and queen who 
ruled over a country so small that you could easily walk 
round it in one day. They were both very good, simple 
people ; not very wise, perhaps, but anxious to be kind 
to everybody ; and this was often a mistake, for the king 
allowed all his subjects to talk at once, and offer advice 
upon the government of the kingdom as well as upon 
private matters. And the end of it all was, that it 
was very difficult to get any laws made, and, still more, 
to get anyone to obey them. 

Now, no traveller ever passed through the kingdom 
without inquiring how it came to be so small. And 
this was the reason. As soon as Petaldo (for that was 
the king's name) had been born, his father and mother 
betrothed him to the niece of their friend the fairy 
Gangana — if she should ever have one. But as the 
years passed on, and Gangana was still without a niece, 
the young prince forgot all about his destined bride, 
and when he was twenty-five he secretly married the 
beautiful daughter of a rich farmer, with whom he had 
fallen violently in love. 

When the fairy heard the news she fell into a violent 
rage, and hurried off to tell the king. The old man 
thought in his heart that his son had waited quite long 
enough ; but he did not dare to say so, lest some dreadful 
spell might be thrown over them all, and they should be 

OL. X 


changed into birds or snakes, or, worst of all, into stones. 
So, much against his will, he was obliged to disinherit 
the young man, and to forbid him to come to court. 
Indeed, he would have been a beggar had it not been 
for the property his wife had had given her by the 
farmer, which the youth obtained permission to erect into 
a kingdom. 

Most princes would have been very angry at this 
treatment, especially as the old king soon died, and the 
queen was delighted to reign in his place. But Petaldo 
was a contented young man, and was quite satisfied with 
arranging his tiny court on the model of his father's, and 
having a lord chamberlain, and a high steward and 
several gentlemen in attendance ; while the young queen 
appointed her own ladies-in-waiting and maids of honour. 
He likewise set up a mint to coin money, and chose a 
seneschal as head of the five policemen who kept order 
in the capital and punished the boys who were caught 
in the act of throwing stones at the palace windows. 

The first to fill this important office was the young 
king's father-in-law, an excellent man of the name of 
Caboche. He was much beloved by everyone, and so 
sensible that he was not at all vain at rising at once 
to the dignity of seneschal, when he had only been a 
common farmer, but went about his fields every day as 
usual. This conduct so struck his king that very soon 
he never did anything without consulting him. 

Each morning Caboche and his son-in-law had break- 
fast together, and when they had finished, the king took 
out of his iron chest great bundles of state papers, which 
he desired to talk over with his seneschal. Sometimes 
they would spend two hours at least in deciding these 
important matters, but more often after a few minutes 
Caboche would say : 

' Excuse me, sire, but your majesty does not under- 
stand this affair in the least. Leave it to me, and I will 

settle ^ D jg jtized by Microsoft® 


' But what am I to do, then ? ' asked the king. And 
his minister answered : 

' Oh, you can rule your wife, and see after your fruit 
garden. You will find that those two things will take 
up all your time.' 

' Well, perhaps you are right,' the king replied ; 
secretly glad to be rid of the cares of government. But 
though Caboche did all the work, Petaldo never failed to 
appear on grand occasions, in his royal mantle of red 
linen, holding a sceptre of gilded wood. Meanwhile he 
passed his mornings in studying books, from which he 
learned the proper seasons to plant his fruit trees, and 
when they should be pruned ; and his afternoons in his 
garden, where he put his knowledge into practice. In 
the evening he played cards with his father-in-law, and 
supped in public with the queen, and by ten o'clock 
everybody in the palace was fast asleep. 

The queen, on her side, was quite as happy as her 
husband. She loved to be in her dairy, and nobody in 
the kingdom could make such delicious cheeses. But 
however busy she might be, she never forgot to bake a 
little barley cake, and make a tiny cream cheese, and to 
put them under a particular rose-tree in the garden. If 
you had asked her whom they were for, and where they 
went to, she could not have told you, but would have 
said that on the night of her marriage a fairy had 
appeared to her in a dream, and had bidden her to 
perform this ceremony. 

After the king and the queen had six children, a little 
boy was born, with a small red cap on his head, so that 
he was quite different from his brothers and sisters, and 
his parents loved Cadichon better than any of them. 

The years went on, and the children were growing big, 
when, one day, after Gillette the queen had finished baking 
her cake, and had turned it out on a plate, a lovely blue 
mouse crept up the leg of the table and ran to the plate. 
Instead of chasing it away, as most women would have 


done, the queen pretended not to notice what the mouse 
was doing, and was much surprised to see the little 
creature pick up the cake and carry it off to the 
chimney. She sprang forwards to stop it, when, suddenly, 
both the mouse and cake vanished, and in their place 
stood an old woman only a foot high, whose clothes 
hung in rags about her. Taking up a sharp pointed iron 
stick, she drew on the earthen floor some strange signs, 
"uttering seven cries as she did so, and murmuring 
something in a low voice, among which the queen was 
sure she caught the words, ' faith,' ' wisdom/ ' happiness/ 
Then, seizing the kitchen broom, she whirled it three times 
round her head, and vanished. Immediately there arose 
a great noise in the next room, and on opening the door, 
the queen beheld three large cockchafers, each one with 
a princess between its feet, while the princes were seated 
on the backs of three swallows. In the middle was a car 
formed of a single pink shell, and drawn by two robin red- 
breasts, and in this car Cadichon was sitting by the side 
of the blue mouse, who was dressed in a splendid mantle 
of black velvet fastened under her chin. Before the 
queen had recovered from her surprise, cockchafers, red- 
breasts, mouse and children had all flown, singing, to 
the window, and disappeared from view. 

The loud shrieks of the queen brought her husband 
and father running into the room, and when at last they 
made out from her broken sentences what had really 
happened, they hastily snatched up some stout sticks 
that were lying about and set off to the rescue — one 
going in one direction and the other in another. 

For at least an hour the queen sat sobbing where 
they had left her, when at last she was roused by a piece 
of folded paper falling at her feet. She stooped and 
picked it up eagerly, hoping that it might contain some 
news of her lost children. It was very short, but when 
she had read the few words, Gillette was comforted, for 
it bade her take heart, as . thev were well and happy 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 


under the protection of a fairy. ' On your own faith 
and prudence depend your happiness,' ended the writer. 
' It is I who have all these years eaten the food you 
placed under the rose-tree, and some day I shall reward 
you for it. " Everything comes to him who knows 
how to wait," is the advice given by, — The Fairy of the 

Then the queen rose up, and bathed her face, and 
combed her shining hair ; and as she turned away from 
her mirror she beheld a linnet sitting on her bed. No one 
would have known that it was anything but a common 
linnet, and yesterday the queen would have thought so 
too. But this morning so many wonderful things had 
happened that she did not doubt for a moment that the 
writer of the letter was before her. 

' Pretty linnet,' said she, ' I will try to do all you 
wish. Only give me, I pray you, now and then, news of 
my little Cadichon.' 

And the linnet flapped her wings and sang, and flew 
away. So the queen knew that she had guessed rightly, 
and thanked her in her heart. 

By-and-by the king and his seneschal returned, 
hungry and tired with their fruitless search. They 
were amazed and rather angry to find the queen, whom 
they had left weeping, quite cheerful. Could she really 
care for her children so little and have forgotten them so 
soon ? What could have caused this sudden change ? 
But to all their questions Gillette would only answer: 
* Everything comes to him who knows how to wait.' 

* That is true,' replied her father ; ' and, after all, your 
majesty must remember that the revenues of your 
kingdom would hardly bear the cost of seven princes and 
princesses brought up according to their rank. Be 
grateful, then, to those who have relieved you of the 

' You are right ! You are always right ! ' cried the 
king, whose face once more beamed with smiles. And 


life at the palace went on as before, till Petaldo received 
a piece of news which disturbed him greatly. 

The queen, his mother, who had for some time been 
a widow, suddenly made up her mind to marry again, 
and her choice had fallen on the young king of the 
Green Isles, who was younger than her own son, and, 
besides, handsome and fond of pleasure, which Petaldo 
was not. Now the grandmother, foolish though she 
was in many respects, had the sense to see that a 
woman as old and as plain as she was, could hardly 
expect a young man to fall in love with her, and that, 
if this was to happen, it would be needful to find some 
spell which would bring back her youth and beauty. Of 
course, the fairy Gangana could have wrought the change 
with one wave of her wand ; but unluckily the two 
were no longer friends, because the fairy had tried 
hard to persuade the queen to declare her niece heiress 
to the crown, which the queen refused to do. Naturally, 
therefore, it was no use asking the help of Gangana 
to enable the queen to take a second husband, who 
would be certain to succeed her ; and messengers were 
sent all over the neighbouring kingdoms, seeking to 
find a witch or a fairy who would work the wished-for 
miracle. None, however, could be found with sufficient 
skill, and at length the queen saw that if ever the king 
of the Green Isles was to be her husband she must 
throw herself on the mercy of the fairy Gangana. 

The fairy's wrath was great when she heard the 
queen's story, but she knew very well that, as the 
king of the Green Isles had spent all his money, he 
would probably be ready to marry even an old woman, 
like her friend, in order to get more. So, in order to 
gain time, she hid her feelings, and told the queen that 
in three days the spell would be accomplished. 

Her words made the queen so happy that twenty 
years seemed to fall from her at once, and she counted, 

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not only the hours, but the minutes to the appointed 
time. It came at last, and the fairy stood before her in 
a long robe of pink and silver, held up by a tiny brown 
dwarf, who carried a small box under his arm. The 
queen received her with all the marks of respect that 
she could think of, and at the request of Gangana, 
ordered the doors and windows of the great hall to be 
closed, and her attendants to retire, so that she and her 
guest might be quite alone. Then, opening the box, 
which was presented to her on one knee by the dwarf, 
the fairy took from it a small vellum book with silver 
clasps, a wand that lengthened out as you touched it, 
and a crystal bottle filled with very clear green water. 
She next bade the queen sit on a seat in the middle of 
the room, and the dwarf to stand opposite her, after 
which she stooped down and drew three circles round 
them with a golden rod, touched each of them thrice 
with her wand, and sprinkled the liquid over both. 
Gradually the queen's big features began to grow smaller 
and her face fresher, while at the same time the dwarf 
became about tvvice as tall as he had been before. This 
sight, added to the blue flames which sprang up from 
the three circles, so frightened the queen that she fainted 
in her chair, and when she recovered, both the page and 
the fairy had vanished. 

At first she felt vaguely puzzled, not remembering 
clearly what had happened ; then it all came back to 
her, and jumping up she ran to the nearest mirror. 
Oh ! how happy she was ! Her long nose and her 
projecting teeth had become things of beauty, her hair 
was thick and curly, and bright gold. The fairy had indeed 
fulfilled her promise ! But, in her hurry and pleasure, 
the queen never noticed that she had not been changed 
into a beautiful young lady, but into a very tall little 
girl of eight or nine years old ! Instead of her magnifi- 
cent velvet dress, edged with fur and embroidered in 
gold, she wore a straight muslin frjck, with a little lace 


apron, while her hair, which was always combed and 
twisted and fastened with diamond pins, hung in curls 
down her back. But if she had only known, something 
besides this had befallen her, for except as regards her 
love for the king of the Green Isles, her mind as well 
as her face had become that of a child, and this her 
courtiers were aware of, if she was not. Of course they 
could not imagine what had occurred, and did not know 
how to behave themselves, till the chief minister set 
them the example by ordering his wife and daughters 
to copy the queen's clothes and way of speaking. Then, 
in a short time, the whole court, including the men, 
talked and dressed like children, and played with dolls, 
or little tin soldiers, while at the state dinners nothing 
was seen but iced fruits, or sweet cakes made in the 
shape of birds and horses. But whatever she might be 
doing, the queen hardly ceased talking about the king 
of the Green Isles, whom she always spoke of as ( my 
little husband/ and as weeks passed on, and he did not 
come, she began to get very cross and impatient, so that 
her courtiers kept away from her as much as they could. 
By this time, too, they were growing tired of pretend- 
ing to be children, and whispered their intention of 
leaving the palace and taking service under a neigh- 
bouring sovereign, when, one day, a loud blast of trumpets 
announced the arrival of the long-expected guest. In 
an instant all was smiles again, and in spite of the 
strictest rules of court etiquette, the queen insisted on 
receiving the young king at the bottom of the stairs. 
Unfortunately, in her haste, she fell over her dress, and 
rolled down several steps, screaming like a child, from 
fright. She was not really much hurt, though she had 
scratched her nose and bruised her forehead, but she 
was obliged to be carried to her room and have her face 
bathed in cold water. Still, in spite of this, she gave 
strict orders that the king should be brought to her 
presence the moment he entered the palace. 

e tne moment lie entered the palac 

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A shrill blast outside her door sent a twinge of pain 
through the queen's head, which by this time was aching 
badly ; but in her joy at welcoming her future husband 
she paid no heed to it. Between two lines of courtiers, 
bowing low, the young king advanced quickly ; but at 
the sight of the queen and her bandages, broke out into 
such violent fits of laughter that he was forced to leave 
the room, and even the palace. 

When the queen had recovered from the vexation 
caused by the king's rude behaviour, she bade her 
attendants to hasten after him and fetch him back, but 
no promises or entreaties would persuade him to return. 
This of course made the queen's temper even worse than 
it was before, and a plot was set on foot to deprive her 
of the crown, which would certainly have succeeded 
had not the fairy Gangana, who had only wished to 
prevent her marriage, restored her to her proper shape. 
But, far from thanking her friend for this service, the 
sight of her old face in the mirror filled her with despair ; 
and from that day she hated Gangana with a deadly 

And where were Petaldo's children all this while? 
Why, in the island of Bambini, where they had play- 
fellows to their hearts' content, and plenty of fairies to 
take care of them all. But out of all the seven princes 
and princesses whom the queen had seen carried off 
through the window, there was only Cadichon who was 
good and obedient ; the other six were so rude and 
quarrelsome that they could get no one to play with 
them, and at last, as a punishment, the fairy changed 
them all into marionettes, till they should learn to 
behave better. 

Now, in an unlucky moment, the Fairy of the Fields 
determined to visit her friend the queen of the fairies, 
who lived in a distant island, in order to consult her as 
to what was to become of Cadichon. 

As she was entering the Hall of Audience, Gangana 


was leaving it, and sharp words were exchanged between 
them. After her enemy had flown off in a rage, the Fairy 
of the Fields poured out the whole story of Gangana's 
wickedness to the queen, and implored her counsel. 

' Be comforted,' answered the fairy queen. ' For a 
while she must work her will, and at this moment she is 
carrying off Cadichon to the island where she still holds 
her niece captive. But should she make an evil use of 
the power she has, her punishment will be swift and 
great. And now I will give you this precious phial. 
Guard it carefully, for the liquid it contains will cause 
you to become invisible, and safe from the piercing eyes 
of all fairies. Against the eyes of mortals it has no 
charm ! ' 

With a heart somewhat lighter, the Fairy of the Fields 
returned to her own island, and, the better to protect the 
six new marionettes from the wicked fairy, she sprinkled 
them with a few drops of the liquid, only avoiding just 
the tips of their noses, so that she might be able to 
know them again. Then she set off for the kingdom of 
Petaldo, which she found in a state of revolt, because 
for the first time since he had ascended the throne he 
had dared to impose a tax. Indeed, matters might have 
ended in a war, or in cutting off the king's head, had not 
the fairy discovered a means of contenting everybody, 
and of whispering anew to the queen that all was well 
with her children, for she dared not tell her of the loss 
of Cadichon. 

And what had become of Cadichon ? Well, the 
Fairy of the Fields had found out — by means of her 
books, which had told her — that the poor little boy had 
been placed by Gangana in an enchanted island, round 
which flowed a rapid river, sweeping rocks and trees in 
its current. Besides the river, the island was guarded 
by twenty-four enormous dragons, breathing flames, and 
forming a rampart of fire which it seemed as if none 
could pass 

*bigitized by Microsoft ® 


The Fairy of the Fields knew all this, but she had a 
brave heart, and determined that by some means or other 
she would overcome all obstacles, and rescue Cadichon 
from the power of Gangana. So, taking with her the 
water of invisibility, she sprinkled it over her, and 
mounting her favourite winged lizard, set out for the 
island. When it appeared in sight she wrapped herself 
in her fireproof mantle ; then, bidding the lizard return 
home, she slipped past the dragons and entered the 

Scarcely had she done so than she beheld Gangana 
approaching her, talking loudly and angrily to a genius 
who flew by her side. From what she said, the fairy 
learned that Petaldo's mother, the old queen, had died 
of rage on hearing of the marriage of the king of the 
Green Isles to a young and lovely bride, and instead of 
leaving her kingdom to Gangana, had bequeathed it to 
one of the children of her son Petaldo. 

' But all the trouble I have had with that foolish old 
woman shall not go for nothing/ cried Gangana. ' Go 
at once to my stables, and fetch out the strongest and 
swiftest griffins you can find in the stalls, and harness 
them to the yellow coach. Drive this, with all the speed 
you may, to the Isle of Bambini, and carry off the six 
children of Petaldo that are still there. I will see to 
Petaldo and Gillette myself. When I have got them all 
safe here I will change the parents into rabbits and the 
children into dogs. As for Cadichon, I have not quite 
made up my mind what I shall do with him.' 

The Fairy of the Fields did not wait to hear more. 
No time was to be lost in seeking the help of the fairy 
queen if Petaldo and his family were to be saved from 
this dreadful doom. So, without waiting to summon her 
lizard, she flew across the island and past the dragons 
till her feet once more touched the ground again. But 
at that instant a black cloud rolled over her, loud thunder 
rent the air, and the earth rocked beneath her. Then 


wild lightnings lit up the sky, and by their flashes 
she saw the four-and-twenty dragons fighting together, 
uttering shrieks and yells, till the whole earth must have 
heard the uproar. Trembling with terror, the fairy 
stood rooted to the spot ; and when day broke, island, 
torrent, and dragons had vanished, and in their stead 
was a barren rock. On the summit of the rock stood 
a black ostrich, and on its back were seated Cadichon, 
and the little niece of the fairy Gangana, for whose sake 
she had committed so many evil deeds. While the Fairy 
of the Fields was gazing in surprise at this strange sight, 
the ostrich spread its wings and flew off in the direction 
of the Fortunate Isle, and, followed unseen by the good 
fairy, entered the great hall where the queen was sitting 
on her throne. 

Proud and exultant was Gangana in her new shape, 
for, by all the laws of fairydom, if she succeeded in 
'laying Cadichon at the feet of the queen, and received 
him back from her, he was in her power for life, and she 
might do with him as she would. This the good fairy 
knew well, and pressed on with all her strength, for the 
dreadful events of the night had almost exhausted her. 
But, with a mighty effort, she snatched the children away 
from the back of the ostrich, and placed them on the lap 
of the queen. 

With a scream of baffled rage the ostrich turned 
away, and Gangana stood in her place, waiting for the 
doom which she had brought upon herself. 

'You have neglected all my warnings,' said the 
queen, speaking more sternly than any fairy had ever 
heard her; 'and my sentence is that during two hun- 
dred years you lose all your privileges as a fairy, and 
under the form of an ostrich shall become the slave 
of the lowest and wickedest of the genii whom you 
have made your friends. As for these children, I shall 
keep them with me, and they shall be brought up at my 

comt Digitized by Microsoft ® 


And so they were, until they grew tip and were old 
enough to be married. Then the Fairy of the Fields took 
them back to the kingdom of the old queen, where Petaldo 
was now reigning. But the cares of state proved too 
heavy both for him and Gillette, after the quiet life they 
had led for so many years, and they were rejoiced to be 
able to lay aside their crowns, and place them on the 
heads of Cadichon and his bride, who was as good as 
she was beautiful, though she was the niece of the wicked 
Gangana ! And so well had Cadichon learned the lessons 
taught him at the court of the fairy queen, that never 
since the kingdom ivas a kingdom had the people been 
so well governed or so happy. And they went about the 
streets and the fields smiling with joy at the difference 
between the old times and the new, and whispering softly 
to each other : 

* Everything comes to him who knows how to wait.' 

[From Le Cabinet des Fies.] 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 


Once upon a time there lived in Turkey a pasha who 
had only one son, and so dearly did he love this boy that 
he let him spend the whole day amusing himself, instead 
of learning how to be useful like his friends. 

Now the boy's favourite toy was a golden ball, and 
with this he would play from morning till night, without 
troubling anybody. One day, as he was sitting in the 
summer-house in the garden, making his ball run all 
along the walls and catching it again, he noticed an old 
woman with an earthen pitcher coming to draw water 
from a well which stood in a corner of the garden. In 
a moment he had caught his ball and flung it straight 
at the pitcher, which fell to the ground in a thousand 
pieces. The old woman started with surprise, but said 
nothing ; only turned round to fetch another pitcher, 
and as soon as she had disappeared, the boy hurried 
out to pick up his ball. Scarcely was he back in the 
summer-house when he beheld the old woman a second 
time, approaching the well with the pitcher on her 
shoulder. She had just taken hold of the handle to lower 
it into the water, when — crash ! And the pitcher lay 
in fragments at her feet. Of course she felt very angry, 
but for fear of the pasha she still held her peace, and 
spent her last pence in buying a fresh pitcher. But 
when this also was broken by a blow from the ball, her 
wrath burst forth, and shaking her fist towards the 
summer-house where the boy was hiding, she cried : 

' I wish you may be punished by falling in love with 
the silent princess.' And having said this she vanished. 

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For some time the boy paid no heed to her words — 
indeed he forgot them altogether ; but as years went by, 
and he began to think more about things, the remembrance 
of the old woman's wish came back to his mind. 

' Who is the silent princess ? And why should it be 
a punishment to fall in love with her ? ' he asked himself, 
and received no answer. However, that did not prevent 
him from putting the question again and again, till at 
length he grew so weak and ill that he could eat nothing, 
and in the end was forced to lie in bed altogether. His 
father the pasha became so frightened by this strange 
disease, that he sent for every physician in the kingdom 
to cure him, but no one was able to find a remedy. 

' How did your illness first begin, my son ? ' asked 
the pasha one day. ' Perhaps, if we knew that, we should 
also know better what to do for you.' 

Then the youth told him what had happened all 
those years before, when he was a little boy, and what 
the old woman had said to him. 

1 Give me, I pray you,' he cried, when his tale was 
finished, ' give me, I pray you, leave to go into the world 
in search of the princess, and perhaps this evil state 
may cease.' And, sore though his heart was to part 
from his only son, the pasha felt that the young man 
would certainly die if he remained at home any longer. 

' Go, and peace be with you,' he answered ; and went 
out to call his trusted steward, whom he ordered to 
accompany his young master. 

Their preparations were soon made, and early one 
morning the two set out. But neither old man nor 
young had the slightest idea of where they were going, 
or what they were undertaking. First they lost their 
way in a dense forest, and from that they at length 
emerged in a wilderness where they wandered for six 
months, not seeing a living creature and finding scarcely 
anything to eat or drink, till they became nothing but 
skin and bone, while their garments hung in tatters 


about them. They had forgotten all about the princess, 
and their only wish was to find themselves back in the 
palace again, when, one day, they discovered that they* 
were standing on the shoulder of a mountain. The 
stones beneath them shone as brightly as diamonds, and 
both their hearts beat with joy at beholding a tiny old 
man approaching them. The sight awoke all manner 
of recollections; the numb feeling that had taken 
possession of them fell away as if by magic, and it 
was with glad voices that they greeted the new-comer. 
' Where are we, my friend ? ' asked they ; and the old man 
told them that this was the mountain where the sultan's 
daughter sat, covered by seven veils, and the shining of 
the stones was only the reflection of her own brilliance. 

On hearing this news all the dangers and difficulties 
of their past wandering vanished from their minds. 

' How can I reach her soonest ? ' asked the youth 
eagerly. But the old man only answered : 

' Have patience, my son, yet awhile. Another six 
months must go by before you arrive at the palace where 
she dwells with the rest of the women. And, even so, 
think well, when you can, as should you fail to make her 
speak, you will have to pay forfeit with your life, as 
others have done. So beware ! ' 

But the prince only laughed at this counsel — as others 
had also done. 

After three months they found themselves on the top 
of another mountain, and the prince saw with surprise 
that its sides were coloured a beautiful red. Perched on 
some cliffs, not far off, was a small village, and the prince 
proposed to his friend that they should go and rest there. 
The villagers, on their part, welcomed them gladly, and 
gave them food to eat and beds to sleep on, and thank- 
ful indeed were the two travellers to repose their weary 

The next morning they asked their host if he could 

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tell them whether they were still many days' journey 
from the princess, and whether he knew why the moun- 
tain was so much redder than other mountains. 

' For three and a half more months you must still 
pursue your way/ answered he, ' and by that time you will 
find yourselves at the gate of the princess's palace. As 
for the colour of the mountain, that comes from the soft 
hue of her cheeks and mouth, which shines through the 
seven veils which cover her. But none have ever beheld 
her face, for she sits there, uttering no word, though one 
hears whispers of many having lost their lives for her 

The prince, however, would listen no further ; and 
thanking the man for his kindness, he jumped up and, 
with the steward, set out to climb the mountain. 

On and on and on they went, sleeping under the 
trees or in caves, and living upon berries and any fish they 
could catch in the rivers. But at length, when their 
clothes were nearly in rags and their legs so tired that 
they could hardly walk any further, they saw on the top 
of the next mountain a palace of yellow marble. 

* There it is, at last,' cried the prince ; and fresh blood 
seemed to spring in his veins. But as he and his com- 
panion began to climb towards the top they paused in 
horror, for the ground was white with dead men's skulls. 
It w T as the prince who first recovered his voice, and he 
said to his friend, as carelessly as he could : 

* These must be the skulls of the men who tried to 
make the princess speak and failed. Well, if we fail too, 
our bones will strew the ground likewise.' 

' Oh ! turn back now, my prince, while there is yet 
time/ entreated his companion. ' Your father gave you 
into my charge ; but when we set out I did not know that 
certain death lay before us.' 

' Take heart, Lala, take heart ! ' answered the 
prince. ' A man can but die once. And, besides, the 
princess will have to speak some day, you know.' 

OL. y 


So they went on again, past skulls and dead men's 
bones in all degrees of whiteness. And by-and-by 
they reached another village, where they determined to 
rest for a little while, so that their wits might be fresh 
and bright for the task that lay before them. But this 
time, though the people were kind and friendly, their 
faces were gloomy, and every now and then woeful cries 
would rend the air. 

' Oh ! my brother, have I lost you ? ' ' Oh ! my son, 
shall I see you no more ? ' And then, as the prince and 
his companion asked the meaning of these laments — 
which, indeed, was plain enough — the answer was given : 

1 Ah, you also have come hither to die ! This town 
belongs to the father of the princess, and when any rash 
man seeks to move the princess to speech he must first 
obtain leave of the sultan. If that is granted him he is 
then led into the presence of the princess. What happens 
afterwards, perhaps the sight of these bones may help you 
to guess.' 

The young man bowed his head in token of thanks, 
and stood thoughtful for a short time. Then, turning to 
the Lala, he said : 

' Well, our destiny will soon be decided ! Mean- 
while we will find out all we can, and do nothing rashly.' 

For two or three days they wandered about the 
bazaars, keeping their eyes and ears open, when, one 
morning, they met a man carrying a nightingale in a cage. 
The bird was singing so joyously that the prince stopped 
to listen, and at once offered to buy him from his owner. 

1 Oh, why cumber yourself with such a useless thing,' 
cried the Lala in disgust ; ' have you not enough to occupy 
your hands and mind, without taking an extra burden ? ' 
But the prince, who liked having his own way, paid no 
heed to him, and paying the high price asked by the man, 
he carried the bird back to the inn, and hung him up in his 
chamber. That evening, as he was sitting alone, trying 
to think of something that would make the princess talk, 

k ot something that would maKe n 

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and failing altogether, the nightingale pecked open his 
cage door, which was lightly fastened hy a stick, and, 
perching on his shoulder, murmured softly in his ear : 

1 What makes you so sad, my prince ? ' The young 
man started. In his native country birds did not talk, 
and, like many people, he was always rather afraid of 
what he did not understand. But in a moment he felt 
ashamed of his folly, and explained that he had travelled 
for more than a year, and over thousands of miles, to win 
the hand of the sultan's daughter. And now that he 
had reached his goal he could think of no plan to force 
her to speak. 

' Oh ! do not trouble your head about that,' replied 
the bird, ' it is quite easy ! Go this evening to the 
women's apartments, and take me with you, and when 
you enter the princess's private chamber hide me under 
the pedestal which supports the great golden candlestick. 
The princess herself will be wrapped so thickly in her 
seven veils that she can see nothing, neither can her 
face be seen by anyone. Then inquire after her health, 
but she will remain quite silent; and next say that 
you are sorry to have disturbed her, and that you will 
have a little talk with the pedestal of the candlestick. 
When you speak I will answer.' 

The prince threw his mantle over the bird, and 
started for the palace, where he begged an audience of 
the sultan. This was soon granted him, and leaving 
the nightingale hidden by the mantle, in a dark corner 
outside the door, he walked up to the throne on which 
his highness was sitting, and bowed low before him. 

' What is your request ? ' asked the sultan, looking 
closely at the young man, who was tall and handsome ; 
but when he heard the tale he shook his head pityingly. 

1 If you can make her speak she shall be your wife,' 
answered he ; ( but if not — did you mark the skulls that 
strewed the mountain side ? ' 

' Some day a man is bound to break the spell, sultan,' 



replied the youth boldly ; * and why should not I be he 
as well as another? At any rate, my word is pledged, 
and I cannot draw back now.' 

' Well, go if you must,' said the sultan. And he bade 
his attendants lead the way to the chamber of the 
princess, but to allow the young man to enter alone. 

Catching up, unseen, his mantle and the cage as they 
passed into the dark corridor — for by this time night was 
coming on — the youth found himself standing in a room 
bare except for a pile of silken cushions, and one tall golden 
candlestick. His heart beat high as he looked at the 
cushions, and knew that, shrouded within the shining 
veils that covered them, lay the much longed-for princess. 
Then, fearful that after all other eyes might be watching 
him, he hastily placed the nightingale under the open 
pedestal on which the candlestick was resting, and 
turning again he steadied his voice, and besought the 
princess to tell him of her well-being. 

Not by even a movement of her hand did the princess 
show that she had heard, and the young man, who of 
course expected this, went on to speak of his travels and 
of the strange countries he had passed through ; but not 
a sound broke the silence. 

' 1 see clearly that you are interested in none of these 
things/ said he at last, ' and as I have been forced to 
hold my peace for so many months, I feel that now I 
really must talk to somebody, so I shall go and address 
my conversation to the candlestick.' And with that he 
crossed the room behind the princess, and cried : ' 
fairest of candlesticks, how are you ? ' 

1 Very well indeed, my lord,' answered the nightingale ; 
' but I wonder how many years have gone by since any 
one has spoken with me ? And, now that you have come, 
rest, I pray you, awhile, and listen to my story.' 

' Willingly,' replied the youth, curling himself up on 
the floor, for there was no cushion for him to sit on. 

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' Once upon a time,' began the nightingale, ' there 
lived a pasha whose daughter was the most beautiful 
maiden in the whole kingdom. Suitors she had in 
plenty, but she was not easy to please, and at length 
there were only three whom she felt she could even 
think of marrying. Not knowing which of the three she 
liked best, she took counsel with her father, who sum- 
moned the young men into his presence, and then told 
them that they must each of them learn some trade, and 
whichever of them proved the cleverest at the end of 
six months should become the husband of the princess. 

' Though the three suitors may have been secretly 
disappointed, they could not help feeling that this test 
was quite fair, and left the palace together, talking as 
they went of what handicrafts they might set themselves 
to follow. The day was hot, and when they reached a 
spring that gushed out of the side of the mountain, they 
stopped to drink and rest, and then one of them said : 

' " It will be best that we should each seek our fortunes 
aione ; so let us put our rings under this stone, and go 
our separate ways. And the first one who returns hither 
will take his ring, and the others will take theirs. Thus 
we shall know whether we have all fulfilled the commands 
of the pasha, or if some accident has befallen any of us." 

' " Good," replied the other two. And the three rings 
were placed in a little hole, and carefully covered again 
by the stone. 

' Then they parted, and for six months they knew naught 
of each other, till, on the day appointed, they met at 
the spring. Eight glad they all were, and eagerly they 
talked of what they had done, and how the time had 
been spent. 

' " I think I shall win the princess," said the eldest, 
with a laugh, "for it is not everybody that is able to 
accomplish a whole year's journey in an hour ! " 

' " That is very clever, certainly," answered his friend ; 
" but if you are to govern a kingdom it may be still more 


useful to have the power of seeing what is happening at 
a distance ; and that is what / have learnt," replied the 

1 " No, no, my dear comrades/' cried the third, " your 
trades are all very well ; but when the pasha hears that 
I can bring back the dead to life he will know which of 
us three is to be his son-in-law. But come, there only 
remain a few hours of the six months he granted us. It 
is time that we hastened back to the palace." 

' " Stop a moment," said the second, " it would be well 
to know what is going on in the palace." And plucking 
some small leaves from a tree near by, he muttered some 
words and made some signs, and laid them on his eyes. 
In an instant he turned pale, and uttered a cry. 

' " What is it? What is it?" exclaimed the others ; 
and, with a shaking voice, he gasped : 

' " The princess is lying on her bed, and has barely a 
few minutes to live. Oh ! can no one save her ? " 

* " I can," answered the third, taking a small box from 
his turban ; " this ointment will cure any illness. But 
how to reach her in time ? " 

' " Give it to me," said the first. And he wished him- 
self by the bedside of the princess, which was surrounded 
by the sultan and his weeping courtiers. Clearly there 
was not a second to lose, for the princess had grown 
unconscious, and her face cold. Plunging his linger 
into the ointment he touched her eyes, mouth and ears 
with the paste, and with beating heart awaited the 

' It was swifter than he supposed. As he looked the 
colour came back into her cheeks, and she smiled up at 
her father. The sultan, almost speechless with joy at 
this sudden change, embraced his daughter tenderly, and 
then turned to the young man to whom he owed her 

* " Are you not one of those three whom I sent forth 
to learn a trade six months ago ? " asked he. And the 



young man answered yes, and that the other two were 
even now on their way to the palace, so that the sultan 
might judge between them.' 

At this point in his story the nightingale stopped, and 
asked the prince which of the three he thought had the 
best right to the princess. 

' The one who had learned how to prepare the 
ointment,' replied he. 

( But if it had not been for the man who could see 
what was happening at a distance they would never have 
known that the princess was ill/ said tha nightingale. 
'I would give it to him.* And the strife between them 


waxed hot, till, suddenly, the listening princess started 
up from her cushions and cried : 

' Oh, you fools ! cannot you understand that if it had 
not been for him who had power to reach the palace in 
time the ointment itself would have been useless, for 
death would have claimed her ? It is he and no other 
who ought to have the princess ! ' 

At the first sound of the princess's voice, a slave, who 
was standing at the door, ran at full speed to tell the 
sultan of the miracle which had taken place, and the 
delighted father hastened to the spot. But by this time 
the princess perceived that she had fallen into a trap 
which had been cunningly laid for her, and would not 
utter another word. All she could be prevailed on to do 
was to make signs to her father that the man who wished 
to be her husband must induce her to speak three times. 
And she smiled to herself beneath her seven veils as she 
thought of the impossibility of that ! 

When the sultan told the prince that though he had 
succeeded once, he would have twice to pass through 
the same test, the young man's face clouded over. It 
did not seem to him fair play, but he dared not object, 
so he only bowed low, and contrived to step back close 
to the spot where the nightingale was hidden. As it 
was now quite dark he tucked unseen the little cage 
under his cloak, and left the palace. 

' Why are you so gloomy ? ' asked the nightingale, 
as soon as they were safely outside. ' Everything has 
gone exactly right ! Of course the princess was very 
angry with herself for having spoken. And did you see 
that, at her first words, the veils that covered her 
began to rend ? Take me back to-morrow evening, and 
place me on the pillar by the lattice. Fear nothing, 
you have only to trust to me ! ' 

The next evening, towards sunset, the prince left the 
cage behind him, and with the bird in the folds of his 
garment slipped into the palace and made his way straight 


to the princess's apartments. He was at once admitted by 
the slaves who guarded the door, and took care to pass 
near the window so that the nightingale hopped unseen 
to the top of a pillar. Then he turned and bowed low 
to the princess, and asked her several questions ; but, as 
before, she answered nothing, and, indeed, gave no sign 
that she heard. After a few minutes the young man 
bowed again, and crossing over to the window, he said : 

' Oh, pillar ! it is no use speaking to the princess, 
she will not utter one word ; and as I must talk to 
somebody, I have come to you. Tell me how you have 
been all this long while ? ' 

' 1 thank you/ replied a voice from the pillar, ' I am 
feeling very well. And it is lucky for me that the 
princess is silent, or else you would not have wanted to 
speak to me. To reward you, I will relate to you an 
interesting tale that I lately overheard, and about which 
I should like to have your opinion.' 

1 That will be charming,' answered the prince, * so 
pray begin at once.' 

* Once upon a time,' said the nightingale, ' there lived 
a woman who was so beautiful that every man who saw 
her fell in love with her. But she was very hard to 
please, and refused to wed any of them, though she 
managed to keep friends with all. Years passed away 
in this manner, almost without her noticing them, and 
one by one the young men grew tired of waiting, and 
sought wives who may have been less handsome, but were 
also less proud, and at length only three of her former 
wooers remained — Baldschi, Jagdschi, and Eiredschi. 
Still she held herself apart, thought herself better and 
lovelier than other women, when, on a certain evening, her 
eyes were opened at last to the truth. She was sitting 
before her mirror, combing her curls, when amongst her 
raven locks she found a long white hair ! 

' At this dreadful sight her heart gave a jump, and 
then stood still. 


'"I am growing old," she said to herself, " and if 
I do not choose a husband soon, I shall never get one ! 
I know that either of those men would gladly marry me 
to-morrow, but I cannot decide between them. I must 
invent some way to find out which of them is the best, 
and lose no time about it." 

' So instead of going to sleep, she thought all night 
long of different plans, and in the morning she arose 
and dressed herself. 

1 " That will have to do," she muttered as she pulled 
out the white hair which had cost her so much trouble. 
" It is not very good, but I can think of nothing better; 
and — well, they are none of them clever, and I dare say 
they will easily fall into the trap." Then she called her 
slave and bade her let Jagdschi know that she would be 
ready to receive him in an hour's time. After that she 
went into the garden and dug a grave under a tree, by 
which she laid a white shroud. 

* Jagdschi was delighted to get the gracious message ; 
and, putting on his newest garments, he hastened to the 
lady's house, but great was his dismay at finding her 
stretched on her cushions, weeping bitterly. 

' " What is the matter, Fair One ? " he asked, 
bowing low before her. 

' " A terrible thing has happened," said she, her voice 
choked with sobs. " My father died two nights ago, and 
I buried him in my garden. But now I find that he was 
a wizard, and was not dead at all, for his grave is empty 
and he is wandering about somewhere in the world." 

' " That is evil news, indeed," answered Jagdschi ; 
" but can I do nothing to comfort you ? " 

1 " There is one thing you can do," replied she, "and 
that is to wrap yourself in the shroud and lay yourself 
in the grave. If he should not return till after three 
hours have elapsed he will have lost his power over me, 
and be forced to go and wander elsewhere." 

'Now Jagdschi was proud of the trust reposed in 


him, and wrapping himself in the shroud, he stretched 
himself at full length in the grave. After some time 
Baldschi arrived in his turn, and found the lady groaning 
and lamenting. She told him that her father had been a 
wizard, and that in case, as was very likely, he should 
wish to leave his grave and come to work her evil, 
Baldschi was to take a stone and be ready to crush in 
his head, if he showed signs of moving. 

1 Baldschi, enchanted at being able to do his lady 
a service, picked up a stone, and seated himself by the 
side of the grave wherein lay Jagdschi. 

' Meanwhile the hour arrived in which Firedschi was 
accustomed to pay his respects, and, as in the case of 
the other two, he discovered the lady overcome with 
grief. To him she said that a wizard who was an 
enemy of her father's had thrown the dead man out of 
his grave, and had taken his place. " But," she added, 
" if you can bring the wizard into my presence, all his 
power will go from him ; if not, then I am lost." 

1 " Ah, lady, what is there that I would not do for you 1" 
cried Firedschi ; and running down to the grave, he seized 
the astonished Jagdschi by the waist, and flinging the 
body over his shoulder, he hastened with him into the 
house. At the first moment Baldschi was so surprised 
at this turn of affairs, for which the lady had not pre- 
pared him, that he sat still and did nothing. But by- 
and-by he sprang up and hurled the stone after the two 
flying figures, hoping that it might kill them both. For- 
tunately it touched neither, and soon all three were in 
the presence of the lady. Then Jagdschi, thinking that 
he had delivered her from the power of the wizard, slid 
off the back of Firedschi, and threw the shroud from him.' 

' Tell me, my prince/ said the nightingale, when he 
had finished his story, l which of the three men deserved 
to win the lady? I myself should choose Firedschi.' 

' No, no,' answered the prince, who understood the 
wink the bird had given him ; ' it was Baldschi who 


took the most trouble, and it was certainly he who 
deserved the lady.' 

But the nightingale would not agree ; and they began 
to quarrel, till a third voice broke in : 

* How c^n you talk such nonsense ? ' cried the 
princess — and as she spoke a sound of tearing was heard. 
' Why, you have never even thought of Jagdschi, who 
lay for three hours in the grave, with a stone held over 

' his head ! Of course it was he whom the lady chose for 
her husband ! ' 

It was not many minutes before the news reached 
the. sultan ; but even now he would not consent to the 
marriage till his daughter had spoken a third time. On 
hearing this, the young man took counsel with the 
nightingale how best to accomplish this, and the bird 
told him that as the princess, in her fury at having fallen 
into the snare laid for her, had ordered the pillar to be 
broken in pieces, he must be hidden in the folds of a 
curtain that hung by the door. 

The following evening the prince entered the palace, 
and walked boldly up to the princess's apartments. As 
he entered the nightingale flew from under his arm and 
perched himself on top of the door, where he was entirely 
concealed by the folds of the dark curtain. The young 
man talked as usual to the princess without obtaining a 
single word in reply, and at length he left her lying under 
the heap of shining veils — now rent in many places — and 
crossed the room towards the door, from which came a 
voice that gladly answered him. 

For a while the two talked together ; then the night- 
ingale asked if the prince was fond of stories, as he had 
lately heard one which interested and perplexed him 
greatly. In reply, the prince begged that he might hear 
it at once, and without further delay the nightingale began : 

* Once upon a time, a carpenter, a tailor, and a student 
set out together to see the world. After wandering 

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about for some months they grew tired of travelling, and 
resolved to stay and rest in a small town that took their 
fancy. So they hired a little house, and looked about 
for work to do, returning at sunset to smoke their pipes 
and talk over the events of the day. 

* One night in the middle of summer it was hotter 
than usual, and the carpenter found himself unable to 
sleep. Instead of tossing about on his cushions, making 
himself more uncomfortable than he was already, the 
man wisely got up and drank some coffee and lit his 
long pipe. Suddenly his eye fell on some pieces of 
wood in a corner and, being very clever with his fingers, 
he had soon set up a perfect statue of a girl about 
fourteen years old. This so pleased and quieted him 
that he grew quite drowsy, and going back to bed fell 
fast asleep. 

1 But the carpenter was not the only person who lay 
awake that night. Thunder was in the air, and the 
tailor became so restless that he thought he would go 
downstairs and cool his feet in the little fountain outside 
the garden door. To reach the door he had to pass 
through the room where the carpenter had sat and 
smoked,, and against the wall he beheld standing a 
beautiful girl. He stood speechless for an instant 
before he ventured to touch her hand, when, to his 
amazement, he found that she was fashioned out of 

' u Ah ! I can make you more beautiful still," said he. 
And fetching from a shelf a roll of yellow silk which he 
had bought that day from a merchant, he cut and draped 
and stitched, till at length a lovely robe clothed the 
slender figure. When this was finished, the restlessness 
had departed from him, and he went back to bed. 

' As dawn approached the student arose and prepared 
to go to the mosque with the first ray of sunlight. But, 
when he saw the maiden standing there, he fell on his 
knees and lifted his hands in ecstasy. 


* " Oh, thou art fairer than the evening air, clad in the 
beauty of ten thousand stars/' he murmured to himself. 
" Surely a form so rare was never meant to live without 
a soul." And forthwith he prayed with all his might 
that life should be breathed into it. 

' And his prayer was heard, and the beautiful statue 
became a living girl, and the three men all fell in love 
with her, and each desired to have her to wife. 

' Now,' said the nightingale, ' to which of them did 
the maiden really belong? It seems to me that the 
carpenter had the best right to her/ 

' Oh, but the student would never have thought of 
praying that she might be given a soul had not the 
tailor drawn attention to her loveliness by the robe which 
he put upon her,' answered the prince, who guessed 
what he was expected to say; and they soon set up 
quite a pretty quarrel. Suddenly the princess, furious 
that neither of them alluded to the part played by the 
student, quite forgot her vow of silence and cried loudly : 

1 Idiots that you are ! how could she belong to any 
one but the student? If it had not been for him, all 
that the others did would have gone for nothing ! Of 
course it was he who married the maiden ! ' And as she 
spoke the seven veils fell from her, and she stood up, 
the fairest princess that the world has ever seen. 

' You have won me/ she said smiling, holding out her 
hand to the prince. 

And so they were married ; and after the wedding- 
feast was over they sent for the old woman whose 
pitcher the prince had broken so long ago, and she dwelt 
in the palace, and became nurse to their children, and 
lived happily till she died. 

r Adapted from Turkische Volksmarchen aus Stambul gesammelt, 
ubersctzt und eingeleitet von Dr. Ignaz Kiinos. Brilla, Leiden.] 

Spottiswoode & Co. Ltd,, Printers, New-street Square, London, 

*> : 

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